Well, the day finally arrived. No snow this time, just a lot of great beer to try and sample over the next few days. The list looked impressive, well more than impressive, in fact better than many other bigger festivals recently. My problem was where to start.
That's not quite true. I knew I would start with the two offerings from Mallinsons. Both were excellent, but the 'Saaz Starz' just edged it in my opinion. Hoppy but subtly flavoured, another great Mallys beer. Next up were a plethora of new breweries for me, coming from far and wide. Innocente 'Bystander' was a very hoppy amber beer but with a malt background that held the beer together pefectly. Another Scottish brewery was Moulin and their 'Light' hit the spot as well. So far so good, four beers and all excellent. Continuing the Scottish theme I sampled River Leven ' Blonde', 4% and light but seemed to be lacking a bit of the hop character of the other beers, nevertheless a very acceptable offering.
Time to try something different. All Hallows 'Peggs Fayre' was a very good mild, with lots of taste in a 3.9% beer; Mor 'Mor Tea Vicar' was a pleasant, amber session strength bitter and Stamps 'The Russian' was another good light beer. One beer I did find a little disappointing was Downlands 'Ruskins Ram' where the tasting notes promised elderflower and vanilla but I could get neither from my half.
This is only a small snapshot of the 46 beers on offer, and as usual, the beer was served handpulled, at a good temperature, and came in at a reasonable £1.40 a half. All that remains is to revisit again today and sample some more. Thanks to Sam and her team for another great effort, and hopefully it will be another success.