when my dear friend Vikkie asked me if I was going to this event, after first thinking I was a week further ahead and this was the Thursday of the beer fest, I said no. Having correctly established it's identity, I reminded her that I had already decided not to go because I knew I would be free of funds. Vikkie very kindly offered to buy me a couple, so I decided it would be a great idea to go. It was....
Arriving not long after 17.00 we were being sensible and started on halves. In fact, we stayed on halves. Some of the sensibility may have been undermined by our starting on half of the O/O Bangatan (which may have had an extra a on the clip), which was a deliciously easy drinking Nelson, Mosaic, Simcoe and Citra hopped pale at 7.5%. I really like O/O brewery beers, mainly because they seem so flawlessly produced and easy to drink. This was no exception.
Sitting in the front bar we were well placed to see a trail of people we knew amassing at the bar and enjoying numerous similarly excellent ales. Messers Marshall, Cheetham and S.o.J to name but a few, and I also saw Unpro just before he left, John, Tony and Jack. The S.o.J joined us briefly as well, also on the Bangatan, and we had a good chat about beer, beers had, and beers to try.
The next we tried was the Alefarm Standing Shallow, a 5.8% IPA hopped with Mosaic and Ekuanot. This is probably my first Alefarm brew and very enjoyable it was too. One thing I did notice about the Norwegian and Swedish beers we drank was that even their IPA's weren't pale in the same way Northern UK ones are with their number 1 and 2 malts. I wondered if this was to differentiate them from the pervasive appearance of Scandinavian lagers?
The Mikkeller Spontan Elderflower was next, a 7.7% sour beer aged in oak barrels. It was sour, but not acidic, and incredibly easy to drink. In fact, its strength was somewhat lost in the hazy refreshing mix of this excellent beer.
Vikkie stayed on her second Bangatan whilst I embarked on the Amundsen Marshmallow Psycho, a huge 12.3% barrel aged stout with a massive flavour, but which once again was worryingly easy to drink. As it was a school night this was the only one of the three 12% or above stouts which we tried, but it was well worth it.
Our final beers of the takeover were halves of the Amundsen Collective Arts Basket Case, 7.5% double dry hopped DIPA. This held on to its citrus hoppiness brilliantly, although am not sure what I think of the idea of a sub 8% DIPA - I realise the double does not refer to strength but instead hops or IBU but I want to know that I have drunk a DIPA and these days my starting strength is already 6%. Well, that's my keg starting strength any road. Cask is understandably easier to start low on...
We may have ad a second of the Basket case before heading oer't road to have a can of Verdant Photon Trails and a bottle of the Track and Verdant path of least resistance, a fruited brut DIPA, which was a very interesting and enjoyable combo of styles. I also went back the next day to try a couple of pints of the excellent Beatnix Republik session IPA which had a name, and was probably about 3.8% - a wonderful beer!
All the beers we tried at the Scandinavian Tap takeover were excellent, and its always interesting to try beers from further afield and outside the normal comfort zone of Verdant Cloudwater and Northern Monk. Well done once again to Shakespeares for putting on an excellent range of beers nor previously tried, and which told us much about the Scandinavian brewing scene.