last year me, Tash and Wee Fatha were driven by Wee Keefy to South Normanton to attend their beer festival. We liked it so much we decided to go again this year. Alas WK was orf to Cropton beer festival so was unable to drive us, and since he didn't want to drive there and have three thirds in 4 hours WF was encouraged by WK to go by public transport. Lets get this out of the way now - that was a terrible idea! However, let us also not worry about that. Lets talk festival.
Last year me and Tash had met Mick, Care and Bridget (and others) working behind the bar. As we got on so well, I became friends with them on Faceache. I met all of them this year, and that just added a little extra enjoyment to the festival. Arriving about 14.00 we found it was free to get in (woo-hoo!) and £3.00 for a returnable or keepable glass - there were a limited edition of festival ones this year. Being a poorpa, I bought me and WF a returnable one.
Tokens were 50p each so roughly two for a third, three for a half and six for a pint, with some extra coinage for stronger beers. As is commonplace for myself these days, numerous stronger ales were consumed. Well, it would be rude not to.
The festival is quite small admittedly, but showcases a very good range of local and some slightly further afield real ales - considering my hopheadedness, I have to say I was very pleased with the number of plus 5% IPAs available, but this style did not dominate (nine of the thirty two were IPAs). I started on a half of Thorley and Sons Pale and Interesting Pale Ale. Not seen or had their beers before, and this was a really enjoyable starter.
Having caught up with Clare and learned Mick was at a meeting nearby I decided to go for something stronger, and chose a half of Abstract Jungle Brewery Solo, a strong IPA at 5.9%. This was a very well balanced hoppy IPA and really hit the spot. Next I followed Clare's advice and got myself a half of the Torrside Brewing Katakana, a 5.2% Belgian Blonde style ale with Sorachi Ace hops - the strong hop flavour was in fact calmed by the Belgian yeast I think, and the beer was delicious.
I next tried the Black Market Illicit and Gaol No Prisoners, both pale ales but at different strengths with the No Prisoners at 5.7%. Both were tasty but also had quite earthy flavours. My next half was Dead Beard IPA at 5.5% from the Hairy Brewers, and his was probably my beer of the festival, although both me and WF enjoyed the Beer House from Hopjacker. I also tried Langwith Mozza at 5.9%, a blonde, and the Littleover Dazzler IPA at 4.5%. I also tried Lost time wheat beer from Torrside and Shiny Brewery Happy people. Every single beer I went for was available, but many had started to run out when we left about 19.00.
I finished the night on a half of the Bride Farm Yarlington Mill Dry cider at 6.5% and a half of the Double Vision Impaired Vision Perry at 7.4%. As well as the choice of ales, the cider and perry list was notable with some decent drys on offer. Thanks to Mick Bull for his advice.
So, an enjoyable festival with free entry, a good range of beers and ciders and friendly staff. Am hoping to go again next year.