I realise that the festival is still on and they are adding more beers as they settle (Navigation Blonde for example) but I only get to go once and last night was that visit. Here are some details of my latest pub beer festival.
I got there a little later than planned having popped in the Rutland Arms for a beer or two and Dada, details to follow later. I think the walk from The Rutland to the Gardeners probably did me a bit of good, but mainly made me really hungry. Luckily there was food at the festival - always a good sign, nothing worse than grumpy hungry punters.
The beer list was long, being day 3 some had run out and one or two weren't on. The list included Andrews Ales, Ashover, Eden, Alechemy, Front Row, Truefitt, Tryst and TSA to name but a few. I decided to start mild and keep the gravity low in the first few beers, so that I could "save myself" for some of the stronger ones later, and if needs be, go for a late one in town.
A slightly unpromising start was the first beer - not that it wasn't nice, but I asked for a mild, a half of Front Row Touch was suggested, and given that I hadn't looked at the list or pumpclips yet I agreed. A pale bitter arrived (although I tried to pretend it was a light mild), just after paying for which I spotted a Wild Mild pumpclip. Still eh.
I settled down in the conservatory and set about finding a handy list that I could refer to instead of squinting at the one on the wall next to the bar. Although of course that was up to date, so you kind of needed both. One thing I noticed were the prices, with some guests being between £2.30 - £2.40 a pint. And as you know, the Sheffield Brewing Company beers are always good value in here.
My next two halves were better, the Truefitt Ironopolis porter and TSA Wild Mild. I tasted the mild, which was nicely balanced, and it complemented the Front Row quite well. I left the Ironopolis for a bit, since I knew it was quite strong. Milds finished I sought info about food and got a friend for the Ironopolis. The Alechemy Cairnpapple was my second favourite beer of the night, along with the Ironopolis.The contrast of the grassy light malt and dry bitterness in the Cairnpapple nicely enhanced the glorious roasted malt bitterness in the porter. Truefitt are clearly a brewery to watch.
I got a sausage sandwich from outside which filled a hole perfectly before trying the other Alechemy offering, the Five Sisters. I didn't rate this as much as the Cairn but it was still a tasty and quaffable Scottish ale and, I erroneously thought, named after the spectacular Five Sisters of Kintail - the brewery helpfully explain what its really named after here.
Next it was time for a couple of finishers and to move into the main room to catch some of the music. This was more like a folk session with many guitarists and other instrumentalists, and plenty of people willing to stand up and sing. I had the Bottlebrook Rapture, a 5.9% beer which I remember as being blonde rather than pale (I think some notes would have helped) and the Andrew Ales Tinfast, which was described as a porter, and was, sort of.
Both of these finished my festival trip off nicely, and I think of the last two the Tinfast probably edged it, but my beer of the festival was the Ironopolis. The only beer downside was that the Brodies Old Street, which would have been an ideal starter, hadn't cleared by last night, and I can't see me getting down in the next week to try it.
Hopefully I will have plenty of chances to visit during the next couple of months before Eddie and Pat move on to waters new, but for now, that is my last taste of one of their beer festivals.
An early "all the best" to them both.