For the last few years it has been held at the Light Waves centre, convenient for the bus station, and with a large sports hall converted for to beer hall for the weekend. There was plenty of seating in the hall with the beer stillaged around the outside. Most beer was served direct from the cask, with some on handpull. My only problem with the venue is the lack of toilets which does become more crucial as the session wears on. Being a Camra run festival did mean that beer was served in thirds, as well as pints and halves so it gave the opportunity to sample plenty of the beers on offer. They were reasonably priced, most being £2.60 a pint.
Armed with a glass, and a list, I set about trying some of the new breweries that had previously eluded me. First up was Cap House. Based in Batley but with connections to the Reindeer at Overton, I always managed to miss them at previous festivals, and had heard good things about them. 'Miner's a Pint' was a good introduction to their range, a nicely balanced session beer, followed by 'Love At First Brew', a more traditionally English style beer but quite acceptable. Big River from Brough was next up, with their 3.5%,'Ropewalk', another decent session beer for its strength, and my third new brewery was Brass Castle from Pocklington with their refreshing 'Cliff Hanger'. Three new breweries and all brewing good beer, things were looking hopeful for the rest of the session.
From my point of view, the star brewery of the show was 'North Riding' brewery from the pub of the same name in Scarborough. 'Maori Magic' set the tone, with its blend of New Zealand hops, but my beer of the festival was their 'Neilson Sauvin'. Only 3.7% but it showcased the use of the hop superbly and left me wanting more. So instead of trying another new beer, that was where I finished, with another. For a fairly new brewery it was excellent, the best example of a Nelson beer I have ever had, and that is some praise.
As always, Wakefield Camra, put on a good festival, and it is good to meet up with old friends. I was a little concerned when I saw the list, but with a couple of exceptions it showcased what excellent breweries we have in Yorkshire, and what superb beer they brew. Long may it continue.