Friday, June 13, 2014

Fernandes Festival

This weekend Wakefield's Fernandes Brewery Tap & Bier Keller manages to steer clear of any tedious, cliched, football-themed bunk by keeping it's festival admirably parochial.

Twenty-two beers, all produced in-house, feature at the double-decker venue over the next three days, where five real ciders, an open brew day (Saturday) and live music complete the line-up.

Last night a ticketed preview event allowed guests to sample four brand new beers in the Keller, where brewer Steve Hutchinson  assisted by manager and part-time ale architect Janie Hartley, hosted a tutored tasting session.

Janie's Addiction, a sweet and moreish 4.3% fruit-bomb of an ale with added  Chinook goodness was the standout in this restricted sampling, but a more thorough examination will occur this afternoon when the following come under scrutiny:

Black Beer
Ginger Ninja 4.1%, 10 Degrees 6.0%, Black Voodoo 5.1%, Irish Stout 4.2%
Brown/Red Beer
Trinity Ale 4.5%, Dustcutter 4.1%, Janie's Addiction 4.3%
Two Islands IPA 4.8%, Session IPA 3.8%, Sunshine IPA 5.5%
Blonde/Golden Beer
Folklore 3.8%, Bramling Stoker 3.8%, Octohop 4.0%, Chinook 4.0%, Goodnight Vienna 4.0%, Whack-a-Mole 4.1%, American Pale 4.2%, Centaur 4.5%, Cascade Torrent 4.6%, Hotwired 5.2%
Speciality Beer
Wheat & Juniper 4.2%, Tropical Breeze 3.8%

Fernandes is open from noon Friday - Sunday.

After Will had posted the list it seemed churlish not to visit and take a look - and the odd sample, so I made the trip across on Friday lunchtime.
Initially I was slightly disappointed. Although 20 beers were promised, only 10 were available at any one time, but all came through hand pull and were all reasonably priced. The selection gravitated towards lighter, mid strength beers - most from the selection Blonde and Golden above. They were pleasant but only the Centaur really hit to spot for me from this selection, even though the Whack-a-Mole was doing a good turnover on the bar. The only dark beer was Small Stout, (not on the above list) and only 3%. However, for its strength it did pack a lot of flavour - I was quite impressed.
Things continued to improve when I sampled the Two Islands Ipa, which was full of fruity, hoppy flavours, but I saved my beer of the festival till last. I always (well almost always !) like wheat beers, and the Wheat and Juniper sounded interesting. It was better than that, an excellent version of the style with just a hint of juniper backing up the wonderful wheat background. I was really impressed, and just hope it hits the free trade and gets out and about so I can try it again.

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