UPDATE: It’s 2012, so check out my new micro-blog just for this year’s festival, it includes a mobile app to keep track of the ales!
Well the traditional Tuesday ‘scouting mission’ at the Peterborough beer festival (beerfest) went well, with a few ales tried in the trusty half pint ‘tankard’ glass. They even have straight half pint glasses if you prefer that; thought of everything the organisers have!
The festival is still in the new layout first tried last year, which I’m told is far better for the staff (and what a great job the volunteers do!), but wasn’t at all popular with punters last year – the music tent felt half deserted early in the week, as it was a bit of a dead end spot.
Well without constant rain, the new layout did feel better, and a very clever touch this year is a small ‘mini bar’ in the music tent itself, in the far corner away from the main beer tents. It must about.. 20 or so real ales (a bit of a mixture of some of the more popular and easy drinking), 4 real ciders, and a fridge full of the European beers (including the ever popular ‘slag’). So now those who like to watch the bands don’t have so much of a trek, especially those who fancy a cider which is the other side of the site. Good work pboro CAMRA! The music tent was certainly fuller than last year, so it seemed a success.
The rain stopped about 4pm in Peterborough, and amazingly by 6pm the floor was dry enough to sit down, and it was great to see a large amount of people enjoying being able to stand and enjoy their ales outside this year, after last year’s washout.
As for beer – I started with Oakham Ales’ festival ale – ‘Dreamcatcher’ – which was a hefty 6.9%, and probably a bad starter. But I’m a traditionalist when it comes to the beerfest, and I always start with the Oakham festival beer! It’s a ruby ale, very powerful hops – pretty damn good, as I found it pretty easy drinking too. The Oakham bar was it’s usual high standard, and the staff all dressed up in Red Indian theme to go with the special.
Other tipples quaffed included; Hopshackle’s Lonestar – a TPA (Texas Pale Ale). An American style 5.8% beer. Very nice it is too. Thornbridge‘s Jaipur (had to be done), Blue Monkey’s ‘Ape’ (5.4% IPA), Victorian Porter by 8 sail, and a few others which aren’t coming to mind 🙂 Oh there was another Thornbridge IPA, which had an odd name, and was 8.4% which I had. A bit too much that one, lost it’s hop in all the strength.
I found my brother and sister in law as they turned up, their new dog Lucca in tow. Dogs always make pubs feel better, and it’s the same at the beer festival. Their dog was a real crowd pleaser, as many people came over for a stroke and chat.
Food wise (another important part of the festival!), early doors I had a cheese n onion pastie, just to take the edge off… and later just before leaving I visited the oriental stand for some noodles n thai red curry, lovely stuff! Just what you need after a session of half pints pretty much all over 5%!
The good news is I’m back tonight – my good Aussie friend Lindsay will be driving up from Bournemouth for the Wednesday night and all day Thurs sessions; that’s dedication! I’m sure I’ll bump into more friends and family over the 3 (or 4) days I’ll be there, it’s another tradition, bumping into old friends.
Opening times, how to find it, and beer lists can be found on the official website here.
Oh and if you do go and are a CAMRA member, take your membership card! You save a LOT of money being a CAMRA member (you can join at the event).
Cheers and good ale, Krispy