Its officially winter. It must be, its the time of the Star Winter Festival again. Last night the pubs 12th Winter Festival opened its doors to a queue of avid beer enthusiasts,what did they (we) find ?
The set up is the tried and tested method with 46 beers on offer on handpull and cellar cooled in the marquee with others on offer on the pub bar. Beers from far and wide with many local breweries being represented with festival specials as well. Mallinsons are represented with two beers, 'Pulp Citron' with mango, and 'Intense' - both excellent, Hand Drawn Monkey have a couple, as do Yorkshire Dales and Wensleydale.
I was interested to try out the Revolutions/Five Towns collaborations 'Scary Monsters' and 'Super Creeps', the former a black IPA, the latter a straight IPA; I preferred the 'Super Creeps', but that was a personal opinion; Dark Star '6 Grain' was an excellent beer, and hoppier than I expected, and Yorkshire Dales 'Red Gill IPA' a 6% red IPA with amarillo and citra hops was also good.
On the dark side there is Hornbeam 'Ginger Domination' - strong but not too gingery; Havant 'Harvested' made with heather and honey; and Bluestone 'Night Hops' is a stout, as is 'Top O'The Morning' from Late Nights.OMB 'Movember Mild' is obviously a mild, but there is a decent hop background to it as well.
The real winner on day one in my humble opinion was Loch Lomond 'West Highland Way'. Only 3.7% but light and packed with flavour, a very moreish beer, so much so that I broke my personal rule and had a second half ignoring other ticks.
As well as the beers the festival attracted custom from far and wide and it was good to see old faces and catch up. It is more like a social event than a beer festival.
That was day one sorted out. There are four more days to go to sample the rest of the beers on offer, so why not give it a go.