This week I've had the pleasure of a couple of nights at Shakespeares sampling the delights of their latest beer festival. It seems like its been ages since they had one - I missed the one in March because I was fannying around at SIBA Beer X and I don't think they've had one since - perhaps I've been too addled to remember...
The festival once again boasts a LocALE and festival bar, the latter being upstairs on your left. There were sandwiches a plenty (alas no pork pies - tut) and throughout there has been a programme of music in th Bard's Bar for those wanting to combine tunes with supping. Obviously, no such interference in the vital work of research would be allowed. I'd read the list, I'd picked out te beers from my favourite breweries to ensure I enjoyed everything I bought, and I was ready to go.
I could write at length about the individual flavours and aromas in, and distinctions between, all the beers I have tried so far. However, I can't recall a large percentage of those subtle minutiae in most cases, and also a large section of my memory, and likely my liver, was erased by having a half of the Arbor Down Deperest Black Saison - at 13%. Apparently, we got home. Whatevs.....
Instead here is a list of beers what I did drunk:
Five Towns Baby Blue 4.5%
Squawk IPA 5.5%
Hopcraft Bikini Atol 4.5%
Axholme Pumpkin Porter 4.3%
Art Brew Anarchy Party 7.2%
Art Brew Baby Anarchist 3.2%
Arbor Triple Hop 13, 4%
Arbor Down Deeperest 13%
New Bristol Angry Tom 5.9%
Steel City All Hallowes Eve 5.2%
North Riding Screaming Bedlam 4.2%
All the above were sampled over two sessions in pints - with the somewhat obvious exception of the Black Saison, of which a having pint, though comparatively inexpensive at £6.00, would have been a very unwise move. I also got to try the Bradfield Bristol Cream Stout, the New Bristol Beer Du Jour, and the Brown Cow Concorde Pale.
Pick of the bunch is a tie three ways between Arbor Triple Hop 13, Five Towns Baby Blue and Steel City All Hallowes Eve - as a first of the festival, the Five Towns was a cracking start, but there wasn't a bad beer in the bunch.
I am going down again today to try some of the new breweries offerings so will probably switch to halves but in the end, I won't want to miss out on the Art, Arbor and New Bristol beers - alas the Steel City and, I think, the Five Towns, have run out.
Congratulations to Shakespeares and their tireless for once again putting on a spectacular range of well kept beers, at sensible prices in convivial surroundings. And special mention must go to Chris Bamford, AKA Mister Christopher, who although not working at the time, spotted myself and Miss N sat in the dark on the tiny bench seat in the alcove at the back of the bar, and fetched us a light bulb on demand. Well done that man !