July was a relatively calm month before the madness that is August. I went to two festivals, but spent a fair amount of time trying the best local pubs to see how the smoking ban had changed things. Without exception, all the pubs were nicer places to be, and custom on the whole was up. In total I tried 64 new beers which is below average.
My first festival of the month was the German Beer Festival where I tried more non German beers over the day. The best German beer I had there was Hösl Stiflands Dunkler Bock, a decent full-bodied dark bock beer with sweetness and licquorice flavours. However the best beers of the day were the two Cantillon lambics: FouFoune and Iris, both of which have the trademark Cantillon sourness, but are oh so drinkable. Iris is my bottled beer of the month with FouFoune close behind. Honourable mention goes to de Hemel Nieuw Ligt Grand Cru, a deliciously fruity boozy Strong beer from Netherlands, and Valhalla Auld Rock a dark beer from Shetland.
The second festival I went to was Derby where I had some great cask ales as can be seen from my write up. The clear winner on the day was BrewDog Riptide, a delicious Imperial Stout packed full of flavour. This beer wins best cask beer, non-English beer and new brewery beer of the month, and the big one of Best Overall Beer Of The Month. I had five more beers on the day which could easily have won a cask beer of the month award during any other month. They were BrewDog Punk IPA, Inveralmond Sunburst, Kelburn Cart Blanche,Williams Roisin and Saltaire Blonde.
Other cask ales I enjoyed on my pub travels were few and far between. Millstone Tiger Rut, a lovely hoppy beer from Greater Manchester was a nice find, but other than that the only really decent cask ale was Buntingford RPA. This was another lovely Summery hoppy ale which I enjoyed in the Wig & Pen in Northampton. This beer comfortably wins best English beer of the month.
August is going to be a beery month to say the least with a RateBeer gathering, two days at GBBF and a day at Peterborough to cope with. I fully expect to drink some absolute crackers during the month.