Having reached the conclusion last time that a panel of trained beer tasting experts knows nothing about beer, clearly everyone wants to hear what this amateur, infrequent blogger thinks.
I didn’t try every one of the beers my target list, sadly. Much of that was due to the odd way they rotate beers: if a brewer has brought more than one ale with them, they’ll generally only serve one at a time, so frequently I ended up walking away with a substitute beer feeling frustrated. Still, at least it’s helped me broaden my horizons.
Of the approximately 3.4 percent of the beers I did manage to try at the festival, here’s a few of my favourites.
Bronze: Fyne Ales, Avalanche 4.5%
This is a nicely rounded golden ale. On the one hand you have plenty of citrussy hops and fruity notes: grapefruit and orange, mostly. But on the other hand, there’s loads of body and a spicy, warming ginger aftertaste.
There’s not a lot I can say about this one, honestly, as it was so absurdly well-constructed. All the flavours are perfectly balanced against one another. I would gladly drink it all night. 4/5
Silver: Weird Beard, Black Perle 3.9%
I wasn’t a fan of Weird Beard when I tried their offering at the Pig’s Ear Festival earlier in the year, so it was a pleasant surprise to try their Black Perle. It tastes fantastic, smooth and rich with flavours of smoked toffee and hints of milky coffee.
The flavours are great, the mouthfeel fantastic. The one thing letting this beer down is the aroma. It smells like arse. And not in a nice, sexy way. In a bad way.
Still, once you get past that it tastes fantastic. 4/5
Gold: Arbor Ales, Breakfast Stout 7.4%
In keeping with the official judges, I’ve picked a breakfast stout as my winner, but I honestly think this is the better beer.
It’s black as night with a tan head, as you would expect from a breakfast stout. The smell is beautiful, with roasty coffee notes and a hint of sweetness. Plenty more to follow as it hits your tongue: it tastes like bittersweet espresso coffee with a creamy mouthfeel, helped along with some oats to give it more of a chunky body.
It’s less smokey than the Siren’s Broken Dream, but it more than makes up for that with the bittersweetness of the coffee notes and the chewier mouthfeel. A well-deserved 5/5
Next post I’ll run through some of the more unusual ales I happened across at the festival.