Wikio - Top Blogs - Wine and beer The Real Ale Girl: The Rare Ale Girl

Saturday 13 August 2011

The Rare Ale Girl

So GBBF is gone for another year, and next year us young'uns get the pleasure of seeing the fest hit Olympia for the first time.

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.
Find some we did, however and I think Blackbeck’s Black Beck Belle was my beer of the festival, followed closely by Earl Soham’s Gannet Mild (yes I like mild and I’m not ashamed to say so). Meanwhile, Bowman’s Southsea Spice, the first beer I tried all day, and Enville’s Cherry Blonde did a go job of tempting me away from the dark side, an accolade indeed for them.

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, Surrey (2007)

Single Hop Sorachi Ace – 4.6% - Single hop

Single Hop Apollo Ace – 4.6% - Single Hop

Coconut Cayenne– 4.6% - Festival special

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

Slough Bomb – 6% – IPA

Sebastopol – 7% – Imperial Stout

*Bingham, Ruscombe, Berks (2010)

Doodlepitch – 5% - Stout

Ginger Doodle – 5% - Ginger Stout

*Black Cat Brewery – Groombridge, East Sussex(2011)

Black Cat Hopsmack – 4.0%

Black Cat Original – 4.2%

*Braydon Ales, Preston, Wiltshire (2009)

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 – Coventry, West Midlands (2011)

CoventryBitter – 3.8% - Golden hoppy session bitter

Phoenix Gold- 4.2% – Blend of 3 American hops golden.

Urban Red - 4.5% – Dark Ruby best bitter

*Canterbury Brewers – Kent (2011)

Foundry Man’s Gold – 4.0% – Golden ale

CanterburyWheat - 4.4% – Wheat beer

Foundry Torpedo – 4.5%

Street Light – 5.8% - Porter

Canterbury Haka —x.x% - Pale Ale with NZ hops

*Chester Ales – Chester (2011)

Gladiator – 3.6% – Session beer.

Corvus - 4.6% – Dark.

IPA – 5.2% – IndiaPale Ale.

*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%

*Longdog, Basingstoke (2011)

Golden Poacher - 4.2% - Golden

Brindle Bitter - 4.2% - Best Bitter

*Old Dairy, Rolvenden, Kent (2010)

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, East Sussex(1996)

Harvest Ale - 4.0%

Mild Pilgrimage - 4.5% - Mild

Rector's Celebration - 5.0%

Rector's Revenge - 5.4%

*Sherfield Village Brewery, Sherfield-on-Loddon, Hants (2011)

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% - IndiaPale Ale.

*Waylands Sixpenny - Sixpenny Handley, Dorset(2007)

Addlestone Ale - 4.2% - Pale copper best bitter.

Rushmore Gold - 4.3% - Golden ale.

*Westerham - Edenbridge, Kent (2004)

Bohemian Rhapsody - 4.0% - Pilsners lager.

India Pale Ale - 4.0% - India Pale Ale

National Trust Viceroy IPA - 5.0% - India Pale Ale.

Audit Ale - 6.2% - A strong ale.


  1. Good read as ever. Agree about the gbbf this year, good of course but there didn't quite seem to be enough new or rare beers,particularly from the larger breweries I thought.

    Egham is always superb - what a list again. Worth the trek I'd say

  2. I never quite manage to make it to Egham, looks like it'll be a good one though!


  3. great read , i am also a fan of the darker beers.Which are a lot easier to find in the north!
    One worth seeking out is Magic Rock Dark Arts a great beer.

  4. Love what you did with your BBC t-shirt. Although can't help but think I ought to be able to adapt mind to clothe a family of four somehow...

  5. WTF does "Funkiest Real Ale Geek in London" mean? If anyone described me in such terms I would deck them. If lots of people described me thus, I would book into Dignitas without delay

  6. Anonymous- I have a nerdy level of interest in beer, while managing to get away with gold shoes and a near afro. Hence 'funkiest (70s music derived) beer geek in London). It is quite simple really. I'm not the 'deck'ing type.

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