Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dewsbury & Heavy Woollen District Beer Festival (Part Two)

It's been nigh on thirty years since I last set foot in Dewsbury Town Hall. Back in the early eighties the emphasis was on music rather than beer, though a few pints of Tetleys (virtually the only thing on offer then) never went amiss as we attempted, albeit unsuccessfully, to become the next Pistols/Magazine/Clash.

The town crier officially opens Dewsbury Beer Festival - the first to be held in the Town Hall since the seventies.

I'm glad to say that the old place is very much as I remember it, with ornate ceiling and unbreachable stage intact - the latter being a necessary feature in those days - but though I've long since swapped my Fender Telecaster for some rudimentary beer knowledge (a step in the wrong direction?), the nerves were nevertheless jangling as I trod the boards once more.

CAMRA's Mike Roebuck introduces special guest Daisy Claeys (middle)

Being invited to take part in the judging at the first festival to be held here since the seventies was a great privilege (thank you Sarah & Ros) and as with all these events it's as much about the people as it is the ale. Our eclectic team, headed up by special guest Daisy Claeys (Belgium's answer to the late Michael Jackson), unanimously saw Fernandes' wonderful 'Rum For Cover' past the post first ahead of the exceptional 'Niamh's Nemesis' from Five Towns of Wakefield, a stunning IPA of Jaipur magnitude. In the bronze medal position was Leeds Midnight Bell, the brewery's most consistent, though increasingly rare, flagship ale.

Last minute preparations before the doors open for the trade session

I should point out that the available seventy beers had been whittled down overnight (a thankless task I'm sure!) to just eight for the purposes of our judging, so if any one's wondering why (for example Tim) the wondrous Mallinsons Simcoe hasn't featured - it ain't my fault! In fact a host of classy ales are undoubtedly still waiting to be uncovered here, and that, amongst many other good reasons, is why I'll be back again tomorrow!

Judging begins


Timbo said...

You are a lucky tasting and the chance to meet Daisy who is a European legend...just concerned you were sober enough to blog this last night !!!!

ChrisM said...

What a great venue that looks for a festival. How are you/they getting on with the wooden floor, though? Been a bit of a moot point for us finding a new venue, so would be interesting to hear some first hand experiences.

Fernandes Rum for Cover - I assume that is some sort of rum beer? How does it compare with the Boggart one? Sounds great, not had a bad one from them yet.

Will said...

Hi Chris - It certainly was a good venue and hopefully can be used again next year. Not heard any mention of the wooden floor (I assume you refer to possible damage?) but note that at festivals in similar buildings, the floor is almost always covered. There will doubtless be a full autopsy (this being the first fest here you many years) so I'll pass on any info.
The Fernandes was indeed rum flavoured but whilst I've tried the Boggart I don't remember it leaving quite such an impression. Regards. Will.

Timbo said...

I agree with Chris ..think the Boggart Rum Porter edges it over the Fernandes..if you drink in Manchester often found on the Micro Bar in the Arndale Centre