Sunday, 20 May 2012

Guiseley Beer Festival

Spent Friday night at Guiseley Beer Festival, a charity Beer Festival run by Guiseley & Distric Lions at Coopers, one of my favourite haunts.

Arrived in plenty of time for doors opening. Early in fact, so got to try a beer at the bar first.

45: Siberia, Ilkley, 5.9%
A Rhubarb Saison style beer, brewed in collaboration with Melissa Cole. A beer I noticed being written about when I first began blogging, and wanted to try. I actually was a little disappointed because the rhubarb to me was so subtle that I missed it. It was perfectly palatable and actually pretty yum, just not quite as I'd anticipated it. Possibly my first Saison...

7 o'clock hit, and the doors upstairs opened, where 24 beers were available. Not sure whether to be proud or mortified, but I actually managed to sample all 24 (through thieving mouthfuls from other people I hasten to add), although true to the challenge sips won't count as a tick.

46: Smokeless, Redwillow, 5.7%
Foolishly, I started the night on a dark beer. I panicked. I knew I wanted to try this beer, and faced with a choice of 24 beers, and an overwhelming concern that if it was popular it might run out, I caved under the pressure! It was really good, not at all Smokeless though (bizarre choice of name really). An excellent choice for a few drinks down the line...

47: Overkill, The Revolution Brewing Company, 4.5%
Wanting to cleanse the palate a bit, and having just had the Rhubarb Saison downstairs, I chose this offering as it also had rhubarb in the description. A rhubarbed wheat beer. Not at all bitter. In comparison with Siberia, the flavours of rhubarb were unmissable and delicious. Wheat beer, still not sure about them. I enjoyed this beer a lot, but there was just something about it that I would have preferred to not be there.

There was then had a bit of an incident. Beer festival school boy error style. Mr T went up to the bar, and got two different beers. And he forgot which was which. One was incredible, the other, was good but just paled in comparison. After feeling a bit silly and using up some more beer tokens, we got to the bottom of the identities.

48: Some Like It Blonde, Worsthorne Brewing Co., 3.9%
This was the good one. At 3.9% it was good. I picked it because of the description of New Zealand hops.

49: Diablo IPA, Summer Wine Brewery, 6.1%
This was the incredible one. I wrote on the tasting notes "super yum". A wonderful smell, tropical fruits, bitter. Another fantastic IPA. My first Summer Wine, was looking forward to this and was not disappointed.

50: Teleporter, Summer Wine Brewery, 5%
Started on a dark beer, finished on one. The tasting notes said this was brewed with 10 different malts. Was just beautiful. Have become a massive fan of Summer Wine after just two drinks. For me, the stand out beer of the festival.

I've been to lots of beer festivals before, but this is the first since I started blogging, started the challenge, and started to actually learn about beer. It was the first festival in which I've made choices based on the brewery, not on the funny name of the beer. And it showed, I had better beers than ever before, and consequently am feeling slightly smug. Although still learnt a lesson about planning the evenings drinks more carefully, starting at lower strengths and pale, and working up (not as strong a lesson as those few drinking 10.5% pints of Ampleforth Abbey cider all night... am guessing a few sore heads around Guiseley on Saturday morning!). A good range of beers, with some proper gems.

Looking forward to next year!

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