Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fernandes Festival at The Sportsman

After a highly enjoyable Meet the Brewer night on Thursday, when six of the 18 Fernandes beers were available for tasting, it was down to some real festival business this weekend. Of the three Ossett owned breweries, Fernandes edge it for me with their huge number of titles and interesting experimental recipes. The core range seems to rarely make it to Huddersfield these days, which is a shame as Great Northern, Ale to the Tzar and Wakefield Pride are amongst my very favourite beers, but we do see plenty of seasonals and pale, hoppy sub-4% quaffers.

This festival follows on the heels of the successful Mallinsons event giving drinkers the rare opportunity to sample multiple offerings side by side and compare and contrast for themselves. And if there's one thing both breweries have been accused of in the past it's the similarity of much of their respective output - this kind of event certainly allows the brewers to put their cards on the table and give their critics the chance to put up or shut up!

This weekend's line up was predominantly pale with just a stout and a porter to add some balance. In my opinion, given the time of year, this was about right. Fernandes brew some very good milds too but it's the pale ales that stand out and the single hopped beers were the real stars. The Centennial, Cascade, Chinook and Explorer (Amarillo) were particularly accomplished and stand little chance of seeing the weekend out I would imagine.


With six beers on the outside festival bar, six indoors and the remaining half dozen replacing them, several visits to the pub may be necessary over the four days. But hey - it's a Bank Holiday, with unpredictable weather, predictable traffic and for many, the last chance of a few days off before Christmas - so what else you gonna do!
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