The Star Inn opened the doors on it's 9th Winter Beer festival last night, and never has a festival been so aptly named. Those who were in Huddersfield yesterday were treated to a proper winter day, freezing cold, heavy snow and in true English style, a complete absence of public transport. Therefore, if you were not prepared to put the hard yards in and walk, there was no way you could make it there. (I did come across a couple who had made it all the way from Southampton for the festival though, but I assume they didn't walk all the way!!)
Although this may have scuppered the plans of those living out of town, a fair selection of the town's beer enthusiasts made the trip to see what was on offer, and as usual Sam has done us proud (the actual list is on our Facebook & Twitter pages if you want to check it). Due to the inclement weather, and the prospect of a long walk home, I did not manage to sample as many of the beers as I wanted, but here is what I found.
The obvious place to start was the Mallinsons special 'MCC', and I was not disappointed, it was bursting with hop flavours from the mixture of the three hops used, and a great starter. I followed this with a couple of offerings from 'Steel City' and again, there were plenty of hops to the fore as would be expected with beer from Gazza and Dave.
By now the urge to experiment was taking over, and a desire to sample some of the breweries new to me. I had a go at the Magnet 'Tornado', which I have later found to be a cuckoo brewery brewing on the Hornbeam plant. It was a decent beer but a bit lacking in my opinion. Next came the Tatton 'Gold' which was a well balanced stronger beer. I found the Mr Grundy's 'Trenchfoot' to be not to my taste at all and lets face it, the name doesn't exactly sell it either!
Time to trip down the dark side - Kissinggate ' Black Cherry Mild' was good, with plenty of flavour in a 4.2% beer and I followed this with Blue Ball, 'Black Hawk', a 5.2% blackberry porter and a really tasty beer from a new brewery (even Caddy may like this!!). I finished off with the Goose Eye 'Ever so Gingerly', that's the name of the beer, not the way I was drinking it!! At 4.7% I expected more from it, but maybe the ginger will become more apparent later down the barrel.
Nevertheless, I could not complain about the beers I tried, all in good form and despite the freezing cold outside, all managed to keep their flavours, a tribute to Sam's efforts and the hard work put in by her team to actually get the beer on the bar. I will have to revisit again tonight, to catch up on some of the beer I missed, I heard good things about the Pictish 'Star Turn', which looked great, and I still have the Mallinsons 'Chocolate Cherry Stout' to sample.
So, should you have a bit of time to spare this weekend, and you want to get out of the snow, where better to while away a few hours. And for those seeking the unusual Xmas present, there are plenty of bottled beers on offer, and the usual selection of interesting cheeses. And why not go home with a Star fleece, just the thing to keep you warm in this weather. Hope to see you there, I am sure the trip will be worth your while.