It was my local beer festival this weekend. Usually for a festival visit I go with my beer-loving friends, but this time I took my beer-hating girlfriend, promising her the time of her life. I don’t think she was impressed. Nevertheless, I had a good night.
There was a West Country theme, with a selection of around 80 beers and ciders, plus a colourful choice of foreign bottles. I knew going in that I would have to act quickly on account of my girlfriends low boredom threshold (I bought along a Heat magazine to keep her amused). From the moment we first sat down and she was chatted up by an aged lothario with beer-induced confidence, I knew I really would have to guzzle the beers quick time.
I started low and worked my way up through the strengths - the usual plan of attack. I was building to a rum-cask-aged cider, but annoyingly, it finished just as I was about to order. This is bad form on my part. One of the golden rules of beer festivals is: if they have something you want, then order it while there’s still some left.
My first half (it’s half pints all the way) was a rushed choice, getting to the bar before I knew what I was going to order. I went for Skinner’s Cornish Knocker (4.5%), which was a fairly decent quaffing ale. Next was Exe Valley’s Devon Glory (4.7%), which had a gorgeous nose of biscuits but had a slightly sharp and unexpected taste. RCH’s East Street Cream followed, which was a well-balanced, enjoyable beer. Another RCH came next, Firebox (6%), which was dangerously drinkable. Then a big leap up to the fruit-based stall and Broadoak’s Perry (7.5%) which was the most memorable drink of the night as it smelt like farm waste but tasted like sweets – weird but great. Finally, on the way out, I had enough money to grab a final half of O’Hanlan’s Port Stout, which was disappointing, and I didn’t think it was as good as the bottled version.
A good festival. I didn’t have anything which blew me away this time, but I tried lots of beers I’ve never had before and I got introduced to many breweries that I’ve not heard of before. And in the end I don’t think my girlfriend had that bad a time, apart from the lecherous old bloke and the smells of stale beer and stale men. I think we got somewhere, plus she’s taking me out to some pubs today and then for dinner later!