I've somehow managed to find a window of semi sobriety to report on the annual Kelham Island Tavern Summer beer fest. I don't know how long this venerable event has been going on but it appears to be a regular fixture - they had their decade fest last year so there's no doubt been a few. Luckily I almost always get, and this year I am happy to report that I continued that tradition.
I had Friday off as I had to prepare for my barbecue yesterday - a level of pre-planning that consisted of getting up at 11, having breakfast, making potato salad and then, um, going to a beer festival. I rolled up after a somewhat lengthy journey on a 50 year old bus that couldn't accelerate in the first 2 minutes of motion. There is a bus stop every 1.5 minutes. We were overtaken by 3 other 52's. Epic.
At the fest I was meeting a fellow journalist. I say fellow journalist. A journalist. I am but a blogger. So is he as it turns out. Its always nice to catch up with folk from the Internet as, if nothing else, its quite life affirming to know that actual people who like and write about beer exist in real life. I started very sensibly on a half of Bobs Brewing Primevale, a tasty 4.0% pale bitter that was a good starter. I went to sup it in the back room with a bloke called Keith from Wakefield and my mystery blog author.*
I went liderally bongkers next and had a whole pint - and what a good idea that was. Blakemere Deep Dark Secret Licorice Porter at 5.2% was a lovely rich, strong, beer that wasn't overly chewy, and was very well balanced. I knew of Blakemere from drinking their reliable bottle conditioned beers and this was one of very few of theirs I've tried on draught. Good stuff. Next we repaired to the beer garden where I managed to sit in some sunshine, like it was midsummer or something. The longest day provided ample sunshine which was a pleasant surprise, although I was at all times worried it may have run out by the weekend....
From here on it was mostly sensible halves for me, and we were joined by a cavalcade of Sheffield beer scene movers and shakers - Andy M, Dave Unpro, that bloke (you've seen the bloke) Misterchristopher of Bamford, Katedave, Patrick, and Wakefield Josh behind the bar. I next had halves of Abbeydale Phone Dip since I'd liked it the other day, along with Yorkshire Dales Whaw, which had a very interesting if slightly unusual flavour. The phone dip was just as good as I'd remembered.
From this point on the concept of order, both in the sense of a timeline for drinks occurring and non rambunctious behavior, became slightly lost on me. So, as Patrick and Katedave used their "legendary" charades skills to persuade me and Andy M that they were showing us a film called Raar! Antlers (come on, I mean seriously, who's ever heard of that?) the following beers were also supped :
Acorn Perfect 10
Brew Company Summer.
Alas after 5 hours preparing for the barbecue I had to get orf, but I left reflecting on the fact that there was a good range of ales as always, and that the weather had played its part in making this a midsummer festival instead of an April shower. Overall a highly enjoyable afternoon spent supping. And don't forget- its still on today.
*if you want to find out - sorry, since you obviously are desperate to find out who the mysterious man of writing is, watch this space. There are details to come (one hopes) over the coming month......