all good things come to those who wait. Someone said. About something, once. Well, those words maybe at least, half true, if you await a Beefy blog post - because time was being called on the first public night of the above a fortnight ago. So I'm fairly certain that every other local blogger will have given their thoughts before me.
Despite that, and having not read any (sorry all) I will try and remember what happened at the festival that is as old as me.....
It took me a few years to work out the Wednesday night session was open to all. I have the feeling I went on Wednesday to the 39th but am not entirely sure, but this year I damn well specifically planned, at 16.30, to attend on Wednesday. I met Miss N after work and we walked to Kelham Island to face a £10.00 entry to the free festival - this did however include a programme, a rented glass and £7.00 worth of tickets. Which is fine, except I had intended to go with just a fiver each and see how it went - luckily we had sufficient funds.
The first issue was finding Wee Keefy. We had been led up the stairs to the upper hall and when asked where the pub was were told it was across the bridge - it wasn't, of course, that was the upper hall. Our disappointment was quickly removed by spotting cheeses and black pudding (the ideal non low calorie snack combo) and meeting up with lots of people we know, including Saul, who recommended I try a Waen Snowball. It was 7% so a bit keen to start on but ended up being one of my favorites, along with the beer I started on, the Hopcraft Citraic. It was excellent.
After a few chats we went downstairs and found our way to the tent and the Millowners Arms pub and thus Wee Keefy. We were interviewed by Sheffield live, and met up with Thornbridge staff and persons from Sheffield breweries. The ale flowed and we got sat upstairs to enjoy much more of it, including some excellent smoked porter and some On the Edge beer that wasn't what I expected.
Thursday night Miss N very kindly fetched some funds for me and I met up with Jules and Will to collect a free ticket - although it was only a pound entry, and then had a delicious but expensive pint and a half of Brew by Numbers saison on keg in the Tap before the festival. The deal on the sponsor tickets was, admittedly, misunderstood - one person claimed his free entry and beer tickets and got the token back which he exchanged at the bar for a free pint. I got tickets for a free 3rd, and a glass. I used this to good effect though, buying a 3rd of Yeovil Posh IPA at 5.4%.
We once again ventured upstairs and also spent time in the pub, which had about 6 handpumps and featured much brewery and pub history of Sheffield. I also found some cheese (I know, it sounds grim) and ate it whilst enjoying some of the excellent Ratwieller from Rat Brewery.
Friday I was drinking non real ale in Chesterfield but came back Saturday afternoon to meet Terry and Helen and Nat and Jeff, talk cider, and drink very very hazy but ultimately very tasty Magic Rock High Wire to finish. Here is a list of other beers I supped :
Blue Bee Nycto Black IPA/could have been Galaxy IPA!
Brampton Winter Bock
Dark Star NHA
Fuggle Bunny 24 Carat
Fuggle Bunny Deadly Nightshade
Hopcraft Iceberg Theory
Hopcraft who's been sleeping in my brain?
Hopcraft Proffits of doom
Imperial Chocolate chilli cherry stout
Little Ale Cart Galactic Calypso
Magic Rock High Wire
On The Edge New Romance
Skys Edge Citra Smash
Tiger Tops Dark Age
Overall I tried a decent number, though many in thirds so its not as bad as it looks. However, despite the snowball and Hopcraft Citraic and Magic Rock High Wire being favourites, there were fewer beers than last year which stood out. Admittedly I finished on three pints of High Wire but those were my last festival drinks.
That aside however I thought this was an excellent choice of venue and one which delivered on most fronts. There was no trouble that I saw, not much queuing, plenty of choice, especially food wise, and almost enough seating. A better festival than last yea and one which I will, as always, attend next year.