Tuesday 2 June 2009

Best of the Best Beer Fest

I’ve written about previous beer festivals and showcases at my favourite pub - The Bull in Horton Kirby, Kent – here, here and here, and now it’s time to announce another, and this one is potentially the most exciting yet, as the name suggests: The Best of the Best.

This is a 30-odd cask mini-festival featuring beers from seven of the best UK breweries. I received the current beer list last night so here it is. These will all be on from the first day and will stay until they run out. Look closely at the list because there are some crackers.

Edge (2.7%)
Trashy Blonde (4.1%)
77 Lager (4.9%)
Dogma (Speedball) (7.8%)
Devine Rebel (12.5%)

Lord Marples (4.0%)
Red Brick (4.9%)
Kipling (5.2%)
Jaipur IPA (5.9%)
(Epic) Halcyon (7.7%)

Eco Warrior (4.5%)
N1 Wheat Beer (5.0%)
1850 London Porter (5.0%)
1839 India Pale Ale (7.0%)
1792 Imperial Stout (9.3%)

Dark Star
Hophead (3.8%)
Best (4.0%)
Summer Solstice (4.2%)
American Pale Ale (4.6%)
Summer Meltdown (4.8%)

No. 7 (3.8%)
Dr. Sunshine’s Special Friendly (4.2%)
No. 3 (5.0%)
Thoroughly Modern Mild (6.0%)

Pint (3.9%)
Ginger (4.5%)
Bee (4.8%)
Dobber (5.9%)

Rye Smile (3.8%)
Sublime Blonde (4.0%)
Cascade Pale Ale (4.8%)
Amarillo Gold (4.8%)
Blackberry Cascade (4.8%)

How about that? Not bad, eh? Apparently the cask of Devine Rebel (which I tried bottled last weekend and is excellent) is the last one still undrunk in the UK and it’s been sitting in the Bull’s cellar for two months now. I’ve never had BrewDog’s Edge (it's a mild) so I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do with a 2.7% beer? And a cask lager, 77, too. Thornbridge Halcyon is a fantastic English IPA (I wrote about it here) and this is a special one-off version made with Epic Beer which contains Nelson Sauvin hops (read about it here). Jaipur is on the list and this is possibly my favourite cask beer in the UK right now so that brings a cheer from me. Ramsgate Brewery, or Gadds, are a really cool brewery and I expect very good things from them (the mild sounds very good and No.3 is a local hero). I’ve never had any Pitfield beers before but I’ve heard a lot about them, so that is a very exciting haul for the pub (I went to the old shop just once but barely remember it and it was before I was really into this whole beer thing). And then Marble and Saltaire are both breweries that I don’t know too much about so I look forward to learning more, especially the Cascade pales as they are both hopped with Cascades and Centennials, two of my favourite hops. And DarkStar are just great. Enough said.

When is this fine event? Well, it’s this coming weekend, Friday 5th June to Sunday 7th June. The pub is nearest to Farningham Road train station which is about 30 minutes out from London Victoria (plus a 15 minute walk at the other end, but it’s worth it to trek through the glorious Kent countryside). The pub details are on their Facebook page or the postcode is DA4 9DF.

And there will be a BBQ going all day, every day to feed the ravishing crowds.

If anyone is going to come down then let me know. I’ll be there on Friday night and I’ll be really quite drunk.


  1. That's an excellent selection. I may have to check out this pub.

  2. I hope you guys over there appreciate just how lucky you are to (A) have so many quality brewers providing such a huge range of craft beer and (B) lucky enough to have pubs that bring them all to one place so you don't have to travel the country to try them all! And regularly!!

    Hopefully we can generate a bit of groundswell over here to get to the same stage - at the moment we are getting here but too much is still being done by too few.

    Is this event linked at all to the GBBF? I was sent a link about it last week and was going to post something about i. ASny info would be appreciated.

    Prof Pilsner

  3. James, BrewDog3 June 2009 at 09:08

    Sounds like a great line-up. The 2 BrewDog's to really pay attention to are:
    Edge - a pretty cool little flavour packed mild; and
    Dogma - I feel this beer is best suited to cask. Dogma in cask is one of my very favourite things that we do at BrewDog.

    Oh and Devine Rebel is kinda cool too :)

  4. You've got a killer lineup there - Epic Halcyon is rather dandy. The Saltaire beers have proved standouts (and fast-sellers) at the fests I've been to this spring. And a couple of months may have worked wonders for Devien Rebel, I found it a wee harsh back in March.

    And Edge is sublime. I had an afternoon on the stuff and it was the finest gallon of beer I've had. Well, the finest one that I could remember having...

  5. Mark I'll be there Friday afternoon so our paths might cross. I linked to your beer list from my blog. Hope that's ok. Steve

  6. Ed, come along, spend the day and drink some good beer!

    Prof., the trouble with cask ale is that it very much depends on how it is kept once it leaves the brewery. Sometimes you can walk into a pub and the ale is shit. Thankfully The Bull keep their beer exceptionally well and by doing festivals like this they are setting themselves apart from the rest.

    It's not linked to the GBBF, this is just a small festival organised by the landlord to show off some of his favourite breweries. The GBBf is a great festival, around 500 beers and held in a HUGE venue over 5 days. The CAMRA website will tell more than I can.

    James, I'm looking forward to Edge, I've heard lots of excellent things. And Dogma will be great to see how it differs from the bottle version - I'll definitely be having a half!

    Haddonsman, I'll be all over the Epic Halcyon! I will try a few of the Saltaires - I like to find new breweries! And as Devine Rebel has been chilling out in the cellar for so long it should've polished itself off a bit by now.

    Steve, cheers for the link. I hope to see you there. I should be arriving around 7 so make sure there's plenty of beer left :)

  7. I'm getting really very excited about this! That beer list is full of top notch stuff, I can't wait to try some of the BrewDog beers on cask, I've only ever had bottles.

  8. I may be a little biased, but the Epic Halcyon is definitely the business! Don't do what one of my mates did at our beer fest (we had Thornbridge, Brewdog, Marble, Fyne Ales, Dark Star, Lovibonds and Taddington... was awesome!) and drink it all day though. She was in a state the next day and now knows to always read the AbV before consumption...

  9. Hey Kelly, I am quite worried about all those high ABV beers catching up on me on the train home!! There's a BBQ there so I can just keep eating off of that to soak up the beer :)

    Can't wait to try Epic Halcyon!