Thursday, December 04, 2014

Star Winter Festival Review

Last night the doors opened on the 13th Star Winter Beer Festival, obviously 'A Swift One' was there, and this is a quick resume of what we found.

I won't bore you with the technicalities, the system is the tried and tested one, with 46 beers on offer in the marquee. But what of the beers available ? There were beers from all over the country with plenty of unusual Yorkshire breweries represented, along with a few from the North East, and a couple from Scotland and Wales as well. It was just a problem where to start.

I did have a bit of help here actually, when Bad brewery's 'Comfortably Numb' was recommended to me. A very impressive beer, full of flavour, and very moreish at 3.8%. This is a new brewery to me and led me to try their second beer 'Love over Gold' which was equally as good. Whilst I was in new brewery mode I tried Twisted 'Conscript' - a fairly traditional tasting bitter and The Olde Potting Shed 'Swanee River' which was similar but stronger.

Time to take a look at some of the local specials, and they don't come more local than Mallinsons whose brewery is just over the road from the pub. Their 'Elved' was a dry hopped version of one of the beers and was excellent, I would have tried another had not research got in the way. But 'Super Calypso' was another good choice, with a massive fruity hop hit. Since I had tried them it would have been churlish to overlook the Briggs beers. 'Symphony no3' was a quad hopped (whatever that means!!) special, and 4.6%, and very pleasant. I must admit to have been less impressed with 'Christmas Carol', a 5.5% dark beer with hints of cherry. But it was not my style of beer unfortunately.

There were still plenty of beers to sample and I tried my best. Everything I tried was in good condition, and there were plenty of good beers available, but I still managed to save some of the interesting sounding ones for later in the week. Great Heck 'Mount Mosaic' sounds good, Pictish 'Away In A Mash Tun' is apparently a typical Pictish offering, and the Three Daggers beers sound interesting.But before you leave take a look at the main bar, and if you have the capacity have a try of the North Riding/Five Towns '281 DIPA'. Admittedly it is 8.5% but it is my beer of the festival so far packed with hop flavours (but is is only a 4.5 gallon barrel, so you will have to be quick !)

So if you fancy a weekend away from the Christmas shopping get down to the Star, and give it a go yourself. Thursday night is another of the festivals 'Bake Off's - this time Christmas themed, and on Saturday night the 'Monotones' play live.


Ale Ambler said...

Sterling work, Tim.
I shall be doing a shift or two at The Star.
Five Towns/North Riding & cake - a winning combination!

Ale Ambler said...

The Star winter festival, Thursday Night session:
Started with Mallinsons Elved and followed it up with Super Calypso. Both good but preferred the latter.
Next up was a Tim recommendation, Five Towns' Corridor of Uncertainty.
I followed this with a beer Tim wasn't fond of on opening night, Briggs Christmas Carol. Well I beg to differ with the elder statesman here, I liked it. It's a Kirsh version of Nick's well received Metal beer. I like dark beer & I have a sweet tooth so this ticked all the boxes for me.
Usually I like to finish with a dark beer but I had to make an exception after Tim's praise for the North Riding/Five Towns collaboration 281 DIPA. I'm not even going to make a stab at describing it in detail, packed with flavour & strength will do. At 8.5% it is their strongest joint venture beer yet, but I'm told OAP DIPA (brewed to celebrate Malcolm's retirement from nursing) will be even stronger.
I have only one regret about the festival - leaving before the cake competition was judged (ie. when the the public could get its hands on them). The Star pyramid cluster cake looked amazing.
I wonder if there is any left...