The 8th Star Summer festival opened its doors for business last night and the beer hunters were treated to yet another array of wonderful ales from around the country in all sorts of styles and strengths to suit every taste.
There were the two Mallinsons previously mentioned on the blog, both dry hopped and both quite different - and even a competition to guess the dry hops used; a new Pictish which was a bit sweeter than their usual fayre; unusual breweries such as Wibblers, Box Steam and Mersea Island; and festival specials from Coach House, Goose Eye and Brew Co, to name but three. With 46 beers on offer in the outside marquee there was plenty to choose from and every beer I tasted was on top form, all served through handpumps and cellar cooled, a real credit to Sam and Gary who set it all up.
Reading the tasting notes there are some real treats in store for the next few days. Beers with elderflower, ginger and honey rubbing shoulders with the more usual bitters and stouts. The pale hoppy beers seem to be to the fore this time, with many from different breweries being showcased, but for the lover of something unusual then why not try the Vanilla Porter, the Plum or if you are feeling very adventurous the 'Grasshopper' from Oakleaf. This was one of the most distinctive beers I have ever drunk being made with chilli and lemongrass, and it does not skimp on the chilli !! I can still taste it today.
As ever, it is a must visit festival for the casual beer drinker or the beer enthusiast, and even on its opening night attracted guests from as far afield as Cambridgeshire, Tyne & Wear, and Staffordshire - just showing in how much esteem The Star festival is held. Thanks again to Sam for providing us with another gem. (map)
Doors open again this afternoon at 5pm then all day Fri-Sun.