well, after two days of vigorous research I have now sobered up sufficiently to tell you about the Shakespeares 3rd (are you sure folks?!) real ale and cider festival which started on Thursday and runs until tomorrow.
Being a fest stalwart I was there Thursday evening, with my friend Mr C. We were in fact, the first people to sit upstairs in the concert room or Bards Bar as its more likely called. From a very good selection of ales I started with a pint of Steel City Parasite God, Spoof mild. This was a very interesting beer because firstly, it wasn't a mild by any stretch of the imagination, and secondly, its the first 2.7% beer I have tasted that I really enjoyed. Mores the shame it wasn't my round because I could have found out if it cost much less.
I bemoaned the lack of drinkable or useful sub 2.8% beers before and nothing has changed since, but here is one that actually tastes rather nice. Mind you, even knowing its a spoof, I still can't over emphasise just how un-mild it was! It was like any one of Steel City's excellent roster of 5-6% hoppy beers but with less alcohol. I'd have called it a modern luncheon ale.....
Next up I had an actual mild, half a Stringers Dark Country, and an excellent half of Arbor Ales Weissbeer. Mr C had bravely offered to try a real ale and he had a half of the Ascot Ales Aurole, and he liked the Weissbeer as well, but he is a staunch lager drinker at heart so went back to Becks for uor next round! The Weissbeer was a very good attempt and had that fruity Belgian quality that you find in Little Valley Hebden Wheat, which is far and away my favourite British wheat beer. The Stringers was a nice enough drink, but didn't really match up to the wheat.
Our final halves were of Ironbridge Citra, Botanist Q Gold and the excellent Yorkshire Heart Nightliner Stout. This was easily the best beer I tried at the festival, though the citra gave it a good run for its money. Alas we were only having a short visit as we were headed for the Kelham Tav, Ship and Wellycutler later.
There should still be plenty of beers on if you fancy it, like I say its on till Sunday - here are a few other Breweries who's beers are on the programme that I didn't try :
Royal Tunbridge Wells
An impeccable selection, with bands on as well, and a range of ciders and Perrys including Millwhites, Orchard Pig and Pure North. All good!