Visitors to Huddersfield by train these next few days may be amazed, upon leaving the railway station, to be greeted by an array of white tents (sorry Sam, lots of tents and one marquee!!) covering St Georges Square. The smells in the air are varied and whet the appetite and there are lots of people milling about everywhere. It can only signal the return of the Huddersfield Food & Drink Festival.
There are foods for everyone, from pork pies to venison, from cheese to curry, and from all parts of the country and all parts of the globe. The choice is varied and there is something there to attract all-comers. Much of the food is cooked right in front of you by local restaurateurs too, but I digress. The real reason for the blog is to showcase real ale, so what does the festival have to offer the passing drinker?
This year there are two stalls to choose from. As usual Elland Brewery are providing a sample of six brews from 'Eden' to 'Savannah' at 3.8% to 5%, and all worth a try from between £2 and £2.50 a pint (proper prices!). The new addition this year though is The Star Inn, current local CAMRA Pub of the Year. They are providing at least four beers, with two each from local brewers Mallinsons and Keighley outfit Goose Eye at any one time. The Mallinsons on my visit were both new, the 'Emley Moor Mild' (3.4%) being an easy drinking dark beer with plenty of mild characteristics but with a background hop flavour too, and 'Harold', a 4.2% bitter with a super balance of hops. There are others to back them up when they run out, (as Harold did after 5 hours!!) including a wheat beer, 'Hazy Shade of Summer'.
Goose Eye also provided two great tasting beers. Their 'Dark Secret' at 4.2% is a wonderful dark beer, and 'Chinook Blonde' a light beer brewed with American Chinook hops, both great examples of what Dave, the brewer, can produce. I believe that there is a barrel of 'Barm Pot' in reserve too. Additionally there are a couple of foreign fruit beers but I forgot to write down what they were!! All the beer is cooled and served through handpumps to give the nearest that they can to a pub taste, except for the plastic glasses which are part of the festival rules unfortunately. The English beers cost £2.30 a pint and Sam is doing her corned beef hash on the stall too.
So if you have a couple of hours to waste this weekend, try it out. The festival runs till Sunday afternoon and I'm sure you won't be disappointed.