Last night the doors opened to a long queue of punters at the new venue for the Huddersfield Beer Festival. The Sikh Leisure Centre hall has plenty of seating and enough room to drink without everyone falling over each other - a welcome change! The beer is mostly served on gravity from stillage at one end of the hall but there are around 20 handpumps as well. There is the usual breweriana plus book stalls and food is available too, with curries being particularly popular.
The beer was a mixture of old and new, from near and far, and all the ones I tried were in good condition. The traditionalists could sample Fullers and Marble, whilst those wanting locales could chose from Mallinsons, Golcar, Empire, Brass Monkey, Summer Wine, Riverhead, and Elland. For those in search of the unusual, plenty of beers from the South West and the Cotswolds were available.
I sampled the new beers from local breweries and some of those that had travelled far. I was especially impressed with the two Mallinsons specials, (no surprise there then I hear you say) but the North Curry 'Church Ale', Plain Ales 'Innocence' and Rowton 'Bitter' also hit the spot. The only beers that slightly disappointed were the stronger ones which seemed not to have the complexity of some of their weaker cousins, but with 85 beers on the bar there is something for everyone.
Dave Lyall also sourced 21 ciders and perrys for the event, an increase in previous years and these seemed to be doing a good trade as well. All in all, a festival the town should be proud of and credit should go to the hard working organisers.