Thursday, November 26, 2015

Star Festival Review - the first bit !

Last night saw the first night of the Star Winter Festival. This time it was a little different - there is no marquee (well that is not quite correct, there is a marquee but the beers are all inside the pub). Apart from a bar full of changing festival beers there is another bar with 27 festival beers on at the right hand side of the pub. And payment is all cash with no tokens.

That's the technical bit sorted. What did I find there ? As is my usual approach at festivals day one is new breweries and new beers from Mallinsons and Briggs. This time the local brewery(s) treated us to specials with additions of ginger, in Mallys case, and Winter Spice in one, and Honey in the other in the case of Briggs. They were subtle and not overpowering - but I am not so sure about the spice,

On the new brewery front, one had only been delivered minutes before the festival started so that was still settling (Credence), but of the others I tried I enjoyed Rock The Boat 'Dazzle' and Fat Brewer 'Pale Ale' but was a little unsure of Bradford Brewerys 'Framboise' - too fruity for my taste.

Due to various reasons I did not manage to try many beers but I was informed Hornes 'Triple Goat' was going very well, but my beer of the festival so far was Loch Ness 'Saaziness'. Light and refreshing.

I will be back tonight and hopefully can fill some more of the gaps for you.

It was good to see plenty of people had turned out for the event, and many had made the trip across the Pennines. The pub filled even more around 8pm when Nick was presented with the award for Briggs being beer of the festival at the Huddersfield Beer Festival. Congratulations to him.

So hope to see you all over the weekend, it is well worth the trip. (and if you a wondering about the lack of seating there is space set aside in the marquee for overspill if required)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Star Festival List

Remember that the Star Winter Festival starts tomorrow at 5pm. It will open at 5pm on Thursday and then 1200 noon Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This time the beers are all inside the pub, with a special festival bar. So ...the numbered beers are the festival bar beers and the un-numbered are appearing on the pub bar
Hope to see you there.

1 MALLINSONS Ginger Beard 3.8
2 ASHOVER Font 3.8
3 ROCK THE BOAT Dazzle 3.6
4 XT/ANIMAL Swish 4.6
5 BRADFORD BRWY Framboise 4.3
6 DRIFTWOOD Bawden Roocks 3.8
7 TWO BY TWO Blackberry Bramling Porter 4.1
8 HACKNEY Kentucky 4.5
9 KENT  Citra 4.5
10 SHINY Affinity 4.6
11 MALLINSONS Hooded Claw 4.1
12 CRYPTIC Fred N 3.5
13 BELLEVILLE Balham Black Lager 4.6
14 BRIGGS SIGNATURE Expt No3 - Winter Spice 4.2
15 CREDANCE Pale 3.8
16 HORNES Triple Goat 3.9
17 BEER NOUVEAU Body Snatcher 4.2
19 LOCH NESS Saaziness 4
20 CAVEMAN Evolution Session Porter 4.3
21 AJ's Stuck I  The Mud 4.3
22 ACTON Dark Lord 5.7
23 SHINY Pail 4
24 BOX SOCIAL Centennial Mild 3.8
25 FAT BREWER Pale Ale 3.6
26 A
27 B
28 C
PICTISH Eureka 4
DRIFTWOOD Blue Hills 4
FIREBRICK Pagan Queen 4
BEXLEY Golden Acre 4
ROCK THE BOAT Bootle Bull 3.8
HALF MOON Dark Masquerade 3.6
APPLEBY Senior Moment  3.9
BRIGGS SIGNATURE Expt No4 - Honey 4.2
BLUE BEE Centennial Pale 3.9
LORDS Tithe House 3.9
BELLEVILLE Commonside 5
BOX SOCIAL Gentleman's Nectar 4.2
ACTON Golden Cocker 4.1
JUST A MINUTE Bitter Daze 4
FIVE TOWNS Middle 'Un 4.6
NORTH  BLYTH Winter Ale 4.4
BLACK HILL Shield Row 4
SHINY Silver Man 4
DARK STAR Rockhead 6
HOP STUDIO Beerjolais 3.8
HALF MOON Gyle 100 4.6
ARRAN Clyde Puffer 4.5
BLACK HILL Mine's a Dark 'Un 4

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Bloke from Hull's book launch

I bumped into the Bloke from Hull in Castleford today and he reminded me about his forthcoming shindig at The Junction pub on Carlton Street.
He said: "My book, 'From Junk to Junction: The Renaissance of The Junction, Castleford' is set to be launched at the pub on Thursday, November 26, at 8pm.
"Aditionally, there will be Cas Caviar, a special one-off beer from Elland Brewery called Codex and renditions of the pub anthems led by Rich Jones accompanied on the piano by Colin Williams.

"If anyone is stuck for Christmas gifts we should also have Elland brewery clocks, clothing and charity Junction badges (for those who missed out on them earlier in the year).
"I hope you can come along."
Profits from the sale of the book will go to Alzheimer's Society. It costs £7.50 at the pub or £10 mail order.
Contact to get your hands on a copy.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Castleford Beer Festival: ticket only now

Castleford Beer Festival logo. Courtesy of the organisers.
Sales have been good and to ensure festival attendees have a comfortable time and that there is plenty of beer to choose from we will NOT be selling tickets on the door.
If you have not get tickets yet, do not delay!
Please share / tell your friends!"

Castleford Beer Festival starts tonight and features 30 Yorkshire ales.
The town's debut ale event is at the Queen's Mill, on Aire Street, from 6pm on Friday November, 20 to 11pm on Saturday, November 21. It's less than ten minutes' walk from Castleford Train Station
Tickets cost £5 per session and it is now ticket only for all sessions. So check the festival website and @CasBeerFest on twitter for details of availability.
All you need to know is on the festival website, which is available by clicking  here
The beer list features a wide mix of beer styles, some old favourites and some collaborations. I can highly recommend The Blue Bee/North Riding Little & Large which was on excellent form yesterday at Shakespeares' in Sheffield. Plenty of hops: mosaic, citra and sorachi ace. I'm looking forward to drinking that one again and many others, like the seldom brewed Viva Cas Vegas made by Five Towns and festival organisers Revolutions, of nearby Whitwood. I'm sure Elvis would've liked it!
AbbeydaleBlack MassStout6.66
AcornFreebirdUS hopped golden4.5
Blue Bee / North RidingLittle & LargeCitra, Sorachi Ace, Mosaic IPA6.5
Brass CastleBorderlineEuropean IPA5.7
BridestonesHeptonstallMilk Choc Stout4.5
Brown CowCaptain OatesMild4.5
EmpireTwisted MelonSorachi Ace Pale4.1
FernandesWheat & JuniperCloudy Wheat Beer4.2
Five TownsMiddle ‘unPale4.6
Great HeckBlack JesusBlack IPA6.5
Hop StudioUnionIPA4.2
ImperialBorn SlippyWeihenstephan lager yeast ale5
NeepsendPacific BreezePale4.2
North RidingSorachi AcePale4.5
QuirkyGarforth PorterPorter4.8
SaltaireRaspberry BlondeFruit Beer4
Slightly FoxedHowlin’ FoxPale3.5
Small WorldSecretPale4
TigertopsBlanche de NewlandBelgian Style Wit4.6
WallsGun DogBitter3.8
WhippetLittle CurreOatmeal Stout5.2
Yorkshire BrewingYorkshire PassionHoppy Golden4.5
RevolutionsCocker Yorkshire AleBitter3.9
RevolutionsFireworksSmoked Pumpkin Porter4.5
RevolutionsGoGo American PalePale4.5
RevolutionsThe Queen Is Not DeadSorachi Ace Imperial Stout7.4
Revolutions & Five TownsViva Cas VegasBest Bitter4.5

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Moonrakers Festival - a Flying Visit

On the strength of my collegues beer list, I thought I would have a quick trip up to see the Moonrakers Festival at Slaithwaite. I have been previously, and it is one of the local festivals that I enjoy, but it always seems to fall on an inconvenient weekend.

I managed to get a bus that dropped me off just after opening time and after paying my £4 for admission (£2 to get in and £2 for a non refundable glass - a little steep I thought but it is a charity festival after all) and arming myself with some beer tokens I set about the beer list.

There were 32 beers on offer, all on handpumps, and all the same price. I was particularly interested in the brewery called Cathedral in the programme, a new brewery from Huddersfield apparently. I found their 'Tythe House Bitter' a 3.9% light beer which was very pleasant - sharp and soft at the same time, if that is not a contradiction in terms. A chat with a fellow enthusiast (from Liverpool for the day) suggested it had been 'cuckoo' brewed at Golcar and was actually called Lords according to the pump clip. I was a little confused but not enough to stop me having their second beer, 'Interceptor'. which was a very acceptable 5% full bodied light beer.

I next selected the two beers on offer from Three Fiends brewery - another local brewery whose first beer I sampled at the Huddersfield Beer Festival. 'Two Face' was the weaker of the two, plenty of citrus in the taste here, 'Boomer' at 4.3% was more mid brown but again did not skimp on flavour.
Two more HD breweries that are well worth seeking out.

I was running a little short of time now but I managed to sample Riverhead 'Rhubarb and Rosehip' - I do enjoy rhubarb beers and this was amongst the best. Very light, 4% and every mouthful brought subtle flavours of both the major ingredients. Another beer I will be hunting out for another try.

I had to miss the rest of the beers on offer but many were local brews that can be obtained elsewhere but none the worse for that. However, I really enjoyed my hour there, and really appreciated the efforts the local Lions club have made to put on the festival.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Slaithwaite Moonraker Beer Festival

Slaithwaite Moonraker Beer Festival begins tomorrow night (Thursday) at 6pm.
32 real ales will be on offer over the course of the next few days.
The Colne Valley organised event runs until Saturday night at Slaithwaite Conservative Club on Britannia Road, which is well served by buses and trains.
The festival will raise money for heart defibrillators in the Colne Valley. Good luck to all involved.
There is a fuller write up, including session times and prices, on the Examiner's website 

Beer list:
1. Autumn Ale, Spitting Feathers, Chester, 4.5%. Brewed using barley smoked over oak chippings producing a brown beer with a smokey flavour.
2. Back to Back, Mallinsons, Huddersfield. 4.4%. Pale /Golden, Bitter floral & fruity with a good bitter finish. A very tasty easy drinker!
3. Boomer. Three Fiends, Holmfirth. 4.3%. Medium body pale ale, heavy southern hemisphere hop flavours, tropical fruit & gooseberry aroma.
4. Bosbury Bitter, Ossett Brewery.4.0%. Pale hoppy bitter brewed from English wheat and barley malts. Jester hops give fruity aromas.
5. Bread & Butter, Vocation, Hebden Bridge. 3.9%. U.S.hops set against backbone of British malts,lychee & citrus fruits tempered by smooth bitterness.
6. Centenial, Mallinsons, Huddersfield. 3.9%. Brewed using only Centenial hops, pale blonde, bitter citrus hop taste and long dry finish.
7. Commerciale, Empire, Slaithwaite. 3.8%. A very pale, easy drinking session ale, created with an eclectic mix of Anglo-US hops.
8. Cophill Best. Gooseye, Keighley. 3.9%. Rose and Crown (Slaithwaite) special. A fine "session" ale.
9. Copper Hop, Long Man Brewery, Litlington, Sussex. 4.0%. Vienna & premium British Caramalt provide a balanced backbone,with intense tropical fruit aromas.
10. Farmers Blonde, Bradfield, Sheffield. 4.0% Very pale, brilliant blonde beer has citrus/summer fruit aromas making it an extremely refreshing ale.
11. Flying Fox, Slightly Foxed, Sowerby Bridge. 5.0%. Pale hoppy bitter with a touch of apricot for a refreshing flavour of sunshine.      
12. Ginger Pale Ale, Little Valley, Hebden Bridge. 4.0%. An organic fair trade ginger pale ale.
13. Golcar Mild, Golcar, Huddersfield. 3.6%. Nice malty award-winning mild.
14. Highwire, Magic Rock, Huddersfield. 5.5%. Mango, lychee and lipsmacking grapefruit flavours harmonise against a smooth composed malt base.  
15. Hopmaster, Fernandes, Wakefield. 5.0%. A pale dry premium ale.
16. Howling Fox, Slightly Foxed, Sowerby Bridge. 3.5%. Exceptionally pale with hoppy notes blend of exciting new hop varieties from New Zealand, dry flavour.
17. Interceptor Strong Ale, Cathedral, Golcar 5.0% A deep gold ale. Full bodied yet easy drinking. Toasted malt, hints of raisins balanced by english hops
18. Kismet, Empire, Slaithwaite. 4.2%. Pale triple NZ hopped beer with lots of lemon & lime flavours guarenteeing a pleasant hop hit.
19. Maltissimo, Milltown, Huddersfield. 5.3%. Rich Ruby Red.
20. Mellow Amber, XT 4, Buckinghamshire. 3.8%. An Amber beer with special Belgian malt & fruity mix of American & European hops Very addictive.
21. Pennine Mild. Golcar, Huddersfield. 4.0%. Golden/Blonde, creamy on the palate, some bitter with a hint of dryness in a malt finnish.  
22. Platinum Blonde, Milltown, Huddersfield. 4.0%. Blonde lager style beer with American hops creating a spicy, floral, citrus aroma. Clean/refreshing.
23. Poppy Ale, Bradfield, Sheffield 4.3%. A light coloured fruity ale.
24. Rhubarb & Rosehip, Riverhead, Marsden. 4.0%. A light & fruity pale beer, gently hopped with herbal notes and soft fruit aroma.
25. Ringmaster, Magic Rock, Huddersfield. 3.9%. Original Pale Ale . The U.S. Hops give a floral, 'grassy' aroma with citrus flavours.
26. Swish, Animal Brewing, Long Crendon. 4.6%. An amber ale brewed with a smorgasbord of hops from around the world
27. The Russian, Stamps, Liverpool. 4.2%. Ruby in colour, using Fuggles & Goldings for a traditional English bitter.
28. Thunderbridge Stout, Small World Beers, Huddersfield. 5.2%. Traditional dry stout brewed with roasted barley & balanced with chocolate malt for slight sweetness.
29. Two Face, Three Fiends, Holmfirth. 4.0%. Session pale ale. Light golden colour, Bags of citrus aroma & flavour with hints of grapefruit.
30. Tythe House Bitter, Cathedral, Golcar. 3.9% Light copper coloured session bitter, soft malt & caramel on the palate, mellow pine & grapefruit finish
31. Unforgotten, Bosun's, Horbury. 5.3%. Brewed with galaxy and citra hops. A refreshing blonde ale with lots of fruity flavours.
32. White Rat, Rat, Huddersfield. 4.0%. Pale Golden with a hoppy aroma, initially sweet flavour developing to full on maltiness.citric finish.
Cider/Perry list:
Fannys Bramble. Sandsfords, Devon. 4.0%. Just cider apples & blackberries balanced with care producing a cheeky purple drop of Devon delight.
Roundabout. Circle Cider, Wiltshire 5.6%. Wiltshire cider with a sharp apple aroma and a light, fresh fruity flavour, slight dryness on the tongue.
Two Trees. Perry Gwynt y Ddraig, Wales. 4.5%. This oak aged Welsh perry is quite clear, has a caramel nose and a dry finish.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Its a Sin ! Well actually there are are seven to collect

We are all familiar with the seven deadly sins, but may be we would struggle to name them all. However, Abbeydale Brewery have helped us. They have produced a range of beers named after each one.

I encountered my first one on the bar at the Star yesterday,'Greed' - aptly named as it has left me hungry for more.

The range are all 7% and according to the excellent brewery website are ' Belgian Dubbel aged in seven different oak casks...primed with molasses and aged for 4 months in burgundy white oak barriques'. However each 'sin' has a different twist -

Envy - Charred Oak Chips
Greed - Orange and Ginger
Gluttony - Cacao and Vanilla
Lust - Raspberry and Vanilla
Pride - Coffee
Sloth - Vanilla and extra Molasses
Wrath - Coriander seeds
and Unsinned which is original as it were.

There are very few of each barrel about - it was quite a coup for the Star to get one, but now having sampled one I want to go and try the others, which seems quite a task.

'Greed' was excellent. It did taste it's strength, and the ginger certainly came through, especially in the head before developing into the complexity of the beer. There was definitely orange there but lots of other things as well, and you certainly knew you had had one.

So if you want something a little different get down the Star and try it. Or if you find another of the range let me know...please.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

An author in our midst

The Bloke from Hull is soon to be a published author.
He has, of course, written many pieces for this blog and beer magazines, but this time he has gone the extra mile.
He has written a 20,000 word book about his favourite pub, The Junction at Castleford.
It's called From Junk to Junction: The Renaissance of The Junction, Castleford.
He has enlisted the help of legendary beer scribe Roger Protz to write the foreword. Mr Protz is no stranger to the pub, having conducted a taste the difference session at The Junction last year. The pub on Carlton Street champions beer from the wood - a subject close to the BFH's heart.
The book is due to be lauched at The Junction at 8pm on Thursday, November 26.
Profits from the sale of the book will go to Alzheimer's Society. It costs £7.50 at the pub or £10 mail order.
Contact to get your hands on a copy.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Bradfield Belgian Blue

A few days ago I took part in a South Yorkshire beer tradition.
This entails taking a trip to Bradfield to sample the first Belgian Blue of the season.
It generally goes on sale at the end of October and this year anticipation was heightened with a countdown on social media.
I couldn't make the launch last Thursday so I had to wait until Saturday for a trip to the brewery tap, The Nags Head at Loxley.
There were plenty people at the pub, inside and out. The vast majority were on the blue but pretty much the entire Bradfield range was available.
Some of the people enjoying the sun outside were were holding the red berried beer up to the light and admiring the lacing as the 4.9 per cent ale went down.
I always struggle when it comes to describing the taste of beer, but all I can say it was as good as I remember it to be. 
If you are in the vicinity then make a trip up the valley and try it for yourselves. 
The beer is also available in bottles and in pies. I kid you not, The Steak and Ale Belgian Blue infused pie, served at the Nags Head,  also comes with a free pint of Farmers.
I think I shall be calling in again, shortly.