Well, I managed to get my tastebuds sorted out just in time. Last night saw the opening of the Star Winter Festival, and, true to form, ' A Swift One' was there sampling the wares.
This festival was held inside the pub due to various external circumstances, but there was still a large selection of beers available, and the internal festival led to a more intimate atmosphere, which seemed more in keeping with the season.
There are 14 beers on a pop up bar, all handpulled and cellar cooled, along with those on the bar handpumps, and supplemented by another selection on cellar runs. Plenty to satisfy any taste. The pop up bar beers are £2.90 a pint.
I spent the evening on the light side,almost, leaving the darker stouts and porters for later in the festival. I had plenty of new breweries to sample and a plethora of new beers. I especially enjoyed Musket 'Trigger', a very easy drinking session beer; Brew York 'Yarsa' was 3.7% and again, very pleasant, and High Weald 'Chronicle' a similar strength beer, but a little darker, all the way from Sussex.
A couple of the breweries on offer had their own stories. Urban Huntsman has taken the cuckoo brewing system to a new level being a 'gypsy' brewery, brewing on whatever plant they find available. This time from a pipe factory in Warwickshire. And Don Valley has taken over the plant and the recipes of the erstwhile Owenshaw Mills Brewery, whose brewer seemed impressed with their take on his beers.
Oh,and if you need a recommendation for beer of the festival, I have a couple of personal observations. Mallinsons 'First We Take Manhattan' is a dry hopped special, and is absolutely hop packed, and should you fancy something a tad stronger for a night cap then Five Towns/North Riding 'Mad Monk' should hit the spot. It is an 8% Imperial Russian Stout, and is excellent, but to be treated with respect.
It was good to catch up with plenty of old friends and even better to be able to taste and enjoy my beer again. Thanks to Sam and the team for another great effort.