We had a pleasant, if rather warm, day at GBBF this year- I was accompanied by Real Ale hubby, Real Ale brother and Belgian Beer Girl. We only managed to go for one day, but if I had danced to a band that vigorously for more than one night, I might have need medical treatment (we rather enjoyed the jolly Jewish wedding music of Thursday's evening entertainment, Stan's Magic Foot). I was also delighted to win a colour changing light up rubber duck on the tombola.
But what about the beer, I hear you cry? Well, we drank lots of it. Running into Des De Moor (I do like a good name-drop) he asked us what we were mostly planning on drinking. To my reply of real ales we haven’t had before, he said ‘that shouldn’t be too difficult’.
But in fact it actually was. Don’t get me wrong, I am not claiming to have drunk all of the 700 odd beers available, but when you go to as many pubs and beer festivals as we do, it gets trickier to find new beers to try, although all the new breweries popping up are helping. One of the reasons I think it is getting harder to find new beers to try for me is that I am such a lover of the dark beers, the porters, stouts and milds, and while lots of the new breweries make luscious versions of these, there is also a huge trend for hop experimentation at the moment. I appreciate the genius involved in brewing a hop heavy IPA (and I know this makes me sound way older than my years) but I struggle to drink them over long periods of time and after a few I find myself feeling a bit more like someone on the first episode of Dancing on Ice than a Real Ale Girl. So I head for the darks.
|Yes, we went on hat day.|
One festival that knows what its doing in sourcing the rarest, most exciting, hardest to find beers is the glorious Egham Real Ale Festival, and the 9th one is this week. Just check out this list, and maybe I’ll see you there.
*Ascot Ales – Camberley,
Single Hop Sorachi Ace – 4.6% - Single hop
Single Hop Apollo Ace – 4.6% - Single Hop
Chilli Exile Stout – 5.0% - Festival special
Red IPA – 5.5% - Brand new India Pale Ale
Last of the Blue Devils – Cherry Imperial Porter – 8% - Festival special
*Betjeman Brewery – Wantage, Oxfordshire (2011) (Cuckoo Brewed)
Wantage Bells – 5% – Hopmonster
*Bingham, Ruscombe, Berks (2010)
Doodlepitch – 5% - Stout
Ginger Doodle – 5% - Ginger Stout
*Black Cat Brewery – Groombridge,
Black Cat Hopsmack – 4.0%
Black Cat Original – 4.2%
YerTiz – 4.1% – Triple Hopped bitter
Galley-Bagger - 4.3% – Summer Ale
Pot Walloper – 4.4% – Ruby Coloured beer
Gert Ale – 4.8% – Russett coloured strong ale
*Brewshed, Bury St Edmunds (2011)
Pale Ale – 3.9% – Pale ale
Best Bitter – 4.3% - Best bitter
*Byatts Brewery –
Urban Red - 4.5% – Dark Ruby best bitter
Foundry Man’s Gold – 4.0% – Golden ale
Foundry Torpedo – 4.5%
Street Light – 5.8% - Porter
Canterbury Haka —x.x% - Pale Ale with NZ hops
Gladiator – 3.6% – Session beer.
Corvus - 4.6% – Dark.
IPA – 5.2% –
*Complete Pig Brewery - Britwell Salome, Oxon (2010)
Hallacre Gold - 4.2% - Golden
Red Lion Best - 4.2% - Best
Oxfordshire Black Porter - x.x% - Porter
*Devilfish, Hemmington, Somerset (2011)
Devils Best - 4.2% - Best bitter
Blonde Bombshell - 4.5% - Blonde ale
The Gold Devil - 4.2% - Golden
Stingray—5.5% - New strong Ale
*Halfpenny Brewery - Lechlade, Glouc (2008)
Four Seasons - 4.3%
*Loddon, Dunsden Green, Berks (2003)
In Yer Face IPA - 6.0%
Golden Poacher - 4.2% - Golden
Brindle Bitter - 4.2% - Best Bitter
Heffer Weiss - 5.5% -Wheat special
*Old Forge - Coleshill, Oxon (2010)
Old Ted - 3.6% - Dark mahogany mild.
Anvil Ale - 3.8% - Amber.
Blacksmiths Gold - 4.0% - Golden.
Hammer & Tongs - 4.2% - Chestnut.
Sledgehammer - 5.0% - Ruby bronze.
*Rectory Ales - Hassocks,
Harvest Ale - 4.0%
Mild Pilgrimage - 4.5% - Mild
Rector's Celebration - 5.0%
Rector's Revenge - 5.4%
Threesome - 3.0% - Session beer.
Hindsight - 4.2% - Amber Bitter.
Solo Motueka - 4.3% - Single hop pale.
Solo Quintessential - 4.4% - Copper-coloured beer.
Pewter Suitor - 4.4% - Amber Bitter.
Foursight - 4.5% - Copper-coloured beer.
Pioneer Stout - 5.0% - A black stout.
Solo IPA—5.5% -
*Waylands Sixpenny - Sixpenny Handley,
Addlestone Ale - 4.2% - Pale copper best bitter.
Rushmore Gold - 4.3% - Golden ale.
Bohemian Rhapsody - 4.0% - Pilsners lager.
National Trust Viceroy IPA - 5.0% -
Audit Ale - 6.2% - A strong ale.