After having my fill of the beers on the festival bar at the Star Festival, I went down yesterday in the hope that things had changed on the bar, and how they had changed. Since I left on Friday, all but two of the 9 beers on the bar were different, and provided a great contrast in taste and style, from traditional dark beers, to vanilla porters, from spiced ale to best bitters, and there were two of the best beers I had had in some time lurking there.
Firstly there was Pictish 'Starkers', a 4.5%, festival special. Light and clean, hoppy but balanced, my sort of beer and a really stunning effort. It was going to take some beating, but.....I know I have written before that I am not really a fan of brewers messing about with beer; to me beer should be beer, malt and hops and all. I usually prefer ginger, vanilla and the like to be in my food, not in my drink. However, after coming across Church End 'Lemon, Lime and Chilli' I may have to make an exception. It was 5%, so had plenty of strength as a background for the flavours, and the hit of citrus in the beer was superb, it did mask the hops in the beer to some degree but made for a most refreshing taste, and a super palette cleanser.
Chilli seems to be the thing to add to beer at the moment, but usually in a darker brew. This was light, and the chilli was just a very subtle background flavour, and just hit the back of throat without overpowering the taste which came predominantly from the balance of fruit flavours. It blended perfectly, I must admit, it was a beer for a warm summer's afternoon, not a wet and windy evening, but was certainly my beer of the festival.