The Assembly Rooms in Deby are pretty ugly from the outside, but at beer festival time we can ignore that for inside is a beautiful place to be.
I went to this year's festival on Thursday in the celubrious company of haddonsman and DJMonarch. There was a huge emphasis on Scottish beers this year, as well as the usual selection from closer to Derby. Beers are available in two rooms: the (over) air-conditioned main hall, and the Darwin Hall, where a small selection is available on handpump.
I was most looking forward to trying beers from BrewDog, a fairly new brewery in Fraserburgh in Scotland. Their beers have gained a good reputation very quickly and are rated highly on RateBeer. They brew beers with attitude. They are not frightened to use quality ingredients and lots of them. I was pleased that Punk IPA and Riptide were both available on my visit. Punk IPA is as heavily hopped as you would like it to be with such a name, and has a nice amount of malt together with 6% ABV, to give the beer a good body. Riptide is an 8% Imperial Stout and is big, bold and full of flavour. I really enjoyed both of these beers, scoring them 3.8 and 4.1 respectively.
Two other beers I enjoyed and scored highly were Inveralmond Sunburst Pilsner and Kelburn Carte Blanche. Carte Blanche was champion beer of Scotland in 2006, and I found it far preferable to Highland Dark Munro which won the award this year, which I also tried at Derby.
Other beers I tried were from
All in all a great festival in a good venue with some top beers. The only dodgy bit was the pianist, with what could only be described as an ecletic selection.
A couple of beers in The Alex on the way back to the train station, and I think you'd agree, a pretty decent day of beer.