Last night at 5pm, the doors opened on The Star, at Folly Hall's 'Folly Fest'. The weather was typically summerish, rain was teeming down on the waiting queue but it did not seem to dampen their enthusiasm as the punters came hunting the new beers, new breweries or just some good beer.
The set out is is the same tried and trusted one that has been honed over many previous festivals, and there were 46 beers in the outside marquee awaiting the enthusiasts. All the beers hand pulled and cellar cooled. It was just a question of where to start.
The two Mallinsons offerings were excellent as usual, and very moreish. The stronger one, 'Baridi Sama' was quad hopped and then rather than dry hopped, it had Cascade hop pellets added to the cask. And very pleasant it was too. Briggs were next on my list, one being triple hopped, but the more unusual one 'Experimental no2' contained real orange, and despite a few misgivings I found it a very pleasant beer.
Once I had sampled them it was a case of trying the breweries new to me. So Crate, Idle Valley, and Tres Bien were next up. All very acceptable beers and all light. However my next new brewery set the theme for the rest of the evening. New Lion 'Simba' is a light beer subtly flavoured with Earl Grey tea, and it certainly came through in the aftertaste.
So instead of concentrating on hoppy beers which I have tended to do on the first nights before, I thought I would hunt out those with additional flavourings. So Bad Company 'Elderflower Fall' was on the list - obviously with elderflower and very tasty.Brains 'Punch' was full of summer fruit flavours. Sunbeam 'Summer Special' returned to the elderflower theme, and Bad Company 'Summer Thyme' was a great use of the herb and unusual. My personal favourite however, was Williams 'Juniper Tree'. It was a very 'soft' tasting beer, with juniper in the background, but very drinkable. I must admit my fruit salad did avoid the Big Clock 'Strawberry Bomb', I thought I had reached my five a day by then.
Of course I only managed to scratch the surface of beers on offer, tonight will see me try the hoppy ones from Blue Bee, and Shiny, the wheat one from Yorkshire Brewery and the new offerings from Oakham and Coniston. Cannot wait.
And remember if you fancy a bit of a bop on Friday night, the 'Monotones' will be making a return visit with their music.