At this time of year when beer festivals come thick and fast, one of those on my 'must visit' list is the Three Pigeons, in Halifax. It is slightly different to other pub beer festivals that I visit with a emphasis on selecting recent local breweries for its beer selection. And, as a beer ticker, that makes a wonderful incentive to sample the results. This is the result of my visit yesterday afternoon.
The festival opened on Thursday evening but for convenience sake a trip there on Friday was a better option, and when I arrived, not long after midday opening, there were plenty of other like minded souls already in residence, with tickers I knew who had travelled from through Yorkshire, Lancashire and some even further, who were already on with the beer list.
This would be my one criticism of the festival, that my festival list, although very nicely produced,was somewhat difficult to read. However, since the beer was my main objective for the visit, this was a minor complaint. On the main bar there were around 8 handpulls, all with festival beers. I selected a couple of breweries that I knew were new to me and set about festivalling.
One of the breweries I had selected was Mill Valley, from Cleckheaton, a late addition to the list, and very new, but their 'Luddite' was a decently crafted 4.5% beer, however I preferred my second selection Snowhill 'Pale' . This was weaker at 3.7% but packed with fresh hop flavours, and tasted crisp and clean. I had noticed that others were drinking thirds, an easier way to sample more of the beer list, so the rest of my selections were in thirds.
In addition to the pub bar, there was an additional bar in one of the back rooms, with another selection of beers. I tried this selection next. Here I found beers from Torrside, Quirky, and Fighting Cocks. None of these were breweries new to me, but the beers on offer were. My preference for the selectiion being the Quirky ' Blooming Marvellous' . Again light and hoppy, and dry hopped with Cascade as well. A good choice.
I feel an explanation of the system may be appropriate here. Although the beer list shows around 40 beers, not all of them are available at the same time, with the policy being that each pump is dedicated to a brewery, with the second beer from that brewery coming on, when the first runs off. But unfortunately, there were not enough pumps to showcase every brewery so some were not on at all on my visit.
However, there were still enough for me to make a decent afternoon out of it, and a trip back to the main bar brought Chin Chin 'Alone In The Dark' (another brewery I had had never heard of, from south Elmsall) and Gainford Beer Co-operative ' Styrian Blonde' . I preferred the latter, but there was nothing wrong with the former. Plenty were selecting the Beer Ink 'Pin Up' which we featured a couple of weeks ago.
I was just getting into my stride when the curse of the mobile phone struck me, and a call meant that I had to curtail my afternoon's enjoyment and return home to Timbo Towers to resolve a family crisis. I had managed to get my new breweries (bar one that was not yet available) but had to leave many new beers.
The beers will change throughout the weekend so a second visit may be in the pipeline, to sample some of the missing beers. Notwithstanding, this is an excellent festival, and Tina and her team deserve great credit for their organisation, and Liz and her team for selecting the breweries. If you get the chance over the weekend, get down there and support them. There will be something there to tempt you I am sure.