Just as my taste returned, what happened ? Well, I could have tripped out to Hebden Bridge for the Calderdale Beer Festival, or nipped down to the Scottish Beer Festival at the Sportsman, but....
Previous readers will know of my affection for the Festivals at the Navigation at Mirfield. So I visited there today. And found a London Beer Festival.
Eight breweries were represented, showcasing some of the more established micros from the capital, but interspersed with some newer breweries as well. Around 30 beers on offer, covering all styles, and all cellar cooled, handpulled and at a bargain £3 per pint. For the really dedicated thirds were available too, so there was no excuse not to sample plenty of different ones.
I used my tried and tested system. Start with the weaker and head towards the stronger, and try to start with the more unusual breweries. First up were two beers from the One Mile End brewery, 'Temperance Session' and 'Salvation Pale'. Both light and hoppy, and both excellent. I just hoped the rest were as good. Hammerton 'Life On Mars' was frankly not quite my style, nor was it to my taste - a bit too caramel for my liking. London Brewing 'Skyline APA' reverted to my favourite style, plenty of hops and a good malt base. Unfortunately I was skipping up and down the gravities.
Another session beer was required, ironically called 'Session Pale Ale' from Bexley brewery. Crisp, fresh and with a citrus and floral aftertaste, brewed with a combination of UK, USA, and new Zealand hops. I followed this with Clouded Minds 'N29' - another session pale with a pleasing mix of 4 hops. Both were excellent.
Hammerton 'N1 Pale' was a beer taken for pleasure - I have always enjoyed it, and I followed this with another score beer Belleville 'Picnic Sessions' - good but I expected a little more for its 4.4% when compared to some of the weaker beers.
Time was moving on and the festival was filling up - everyone seemed impressed with the range. It was time now for a trip onto the dark side. Clouded Minds 'Hazel Nutter' was just not to my taste, a mixture of hazelnuts and chocolate predominating, sadly Bexley 'Old Mill Autumn Ale' wasn't either. A bit too bland for my liking. But my final beer 'Thames Surfer' from Belleville redressed the balance. A 5.6% IPA with plenty of taste.
As usual, the Navvy met all my expectations and it was good to catch up with old friends in a pleasant environment for drinking. Roll on their Spring fest.