Friday, July 16, 2010

Star Fest - The Best of the Rest

After a couple of days of serious research, it is time to make an educated appraisal of the Star Festival, (and I cannot mention Mallinsons apparently!!!). The set up is as always, I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say there are 46 beers available in the marquee as well as 9 that change constantly on the pub bar.

The beers have come from far and wide, and comprise the best selection that I have come across for some time at a festival. There are offerings from Knops in Scotland on the main bar, be quick or you'll miss it; Clearwater in Somerset; the second beer brewed by Windsor & Eton; one of only two barrels of Steel City 'Merton Ruination'; Blindmans are there, and Waen too... so a great festival of rare beers and breweries alike.
In addition there are beers from old favourites Pictish, Brew Co, Brown Cow, Goose Eye, Roosters and Five Towns to name but a few. In fact more beers than you could shake a stick at, should that be your thing! I have managed to sample a few, for quality control and research purposes of course. But what was good? Silly question, its all good, all cellar cooled and through handpumps and they can even serve beer without a sparkler should this be your desire. I know everyone has different tastes and my favourites may not be yours, but for what its worth these are what I have liked so far - and there's plenty more to come yet.

Of course I cannot mention Mallinsons, which I won't, and it goes without saying that they are superb, but I cannot mention that can I Will? So what else is good? Pictish 'Summit' hit the spot, light and hoppy, one from their single hopped range. The previously mentioned Steel City is also excellent and those who know the brewery will know they don't skimp on hops either; Goose Eye 'Awesome' is one of their superb caramelly tasting beers; I have also heard good reports of the Boggart 'Blackberry Blonde'; Derby's 'Pennys Porter' is a fine dark beer and Milk Street 'Whoops a Daisy' is a good and malty beer should these be your thing. The best beer I had though was from one of my favourite breweries, and one not often seen around these parts. This will surprise those who know me in that it is not a light and hoppy beer but a dark red, fruity one - the Blue Monkey '99 Red Baboons' was superb (and has a local connection, in that one of the brewers is Tom Evans, an ex-occasional relief manager at the Rat & Ratchet).

In these times of money being tight, it has been great to see the marquee so busy on what were usually the quieter nights, with visitors from far and wide - many of whom promised a reappearance later in the week. Another chance to tick 'tickers'!!! A great vote of thanks is due to Sam and the team, who have spent ages sourcing the beers, putting in hours of work getting the festival together and of course serving the beer. A special word for Grant who had the unenviable task of tasting all the beers before they came on the bar to make sure they were in tip top condition - hard work but someone had to do it!! Again Sam has managed to create one of the best festivals around. Why not give it a try, you will not be disappointed.
The Star festival resumes at noon today and continues all day tomorrow & Sunday. Beer List

1 comment:

Lee Millington said...

Another fantastic Star beer festival - what a good do!