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    Saturday, 15 March 2008

    Leicester Beer Festival 2008

    So I went to Leicester Beer Festival on Thursday as promised. A lift to town, a £5.80 single bus ticket and a short walk over the flyover and past the churchyard and there I was at the Charotar Patidar Samaj, the exotically named venue for what is always a great fesival. I walked in shortly before noon to an already busy hall full of all sorts of beer lovers from the most well known tickers, down to locals who probably only drink real ale once a year.

    The Reluctant Scooper and two of his pals from Derby were tactically positioned near the cob and pork pie counter so I joined them for jolly japes and one live rating on RateBeer. Naturally after all the postings here my first job was to seek out the two Cherwell Valley beers, which despite my pessimistic doubts, had turned up and were ready for consumption. They were both decent enough if unspectacular but at least now that I've drank them I probably won't bore you so much with news of this Brackley based brewery. After meeting that challenge I concentrated on new breweries and stuff from breweries I regard highly. As I was sharing halves with Simon I got through 20 beers. I would have had a few more but my lift home arrived unexpectedly early, but I was happy with my lot in any case.

    Stand out beer on the day was without a doubt Thornbridge Hall Gildas, a wonderfully hoppy robust American styled beer. I've come to expect great things from Thornbridge and this was high quality even for them. Close behind was Fugelestou Sledgehammer Stout an 8% very tasty Imperial Stout.

    Other beer highlights were an unexpectedly good wheat beer from Everards called Hazy Daze and Ribble Bitter; my first beer from Grindleton Brewery. I did have some poor beer but the good ones were in the majority.

    Other highlights were the fantastic local pork pies from Lanes Butchers; peeing in the dark during a power cut which lasted twenty or so minutes; and meeting one of the Young CAMRA collectiv who are readers of this blog.

    Leicester is a good beer city at any time, yet the organisers of this festival go out of their way to complement the city pubs with a superb beer list. In my opinion it's a must visit festival, and I'll be back next year without a doubt.

    I remembered to take my camera and didn't hesitate to bring you evidence of the fact that my search for a new Northants brewery came to an end.


    Tandleman said...

    Good job you didn't come across this beer like another blogger did. I quote Tyson. "Strangest beer was Cherwell’s Crospredy Bridge (4.2%) which was pure TCP."

    maeib said...

    Oh dear. It wasn't that bad. Obviously in bad condition when Tyson sampled it.

    Mr Johnson said...

    I also enjoyed the Gildas although it was so chewy I thought it was almost too much. My other favourites were Barrowden Own Gear, which is a delicious well-balanced bitter, and Brewdog Riptide, which I hadn't had before. It was also my first taste of Potbelly Beijing Black, which I thought was pretty damn good, if not the best mild I've ever had.

    haddonsman said...

    The Cherwell Cropredy Bridge quality issue just goes to show how a cask can differ over a few days - or was that one of the beers they had an extra cask of?

    My usual mixture of informed comment, random ramblings and pork pie picturs are now over at

    maeib said...

    Mr Johnson - Just seen your reviews on RateBeer. They are good. The Gildas was chewy, but I liked that full body and great flavours. Beijing Black is a great mild but actually only the second best mild in Northants!!

    Haddonsman - Tyson had it in Salford, but whether it was a different gyle I wouldn't know. Enjoyed your write up as ever. Great pictures on the whole as well.

    young camra collectiv said...

    We enjoyed the Cherwell Beers. A very distinctive caramelly palate seemed to be the theme in the 2 on offer. I thought the Cropredy Bridge was a delight when I tried it on Wednesday evening. An easily identifiable quality in a brewery is no bad thing in my opinion, as long as the beers in the range are different and interesting enough. I will certainly go for Cherwell Valley again when spotted.

    Maieb - I understand you met a hirsuit member of the collectiv - apologies that I didn't get round to saying hello myself. Was meaning to but by the time I went looking for you you'd seemingly thrown in the towel!

    Other highlights of the fest for us were:
    Mild - Brampton Impey Dark
    Best - Fugelstou Coitus Interuptus
    Porter - Hopshackle Historic Porter
    Stout - Nutbrook Midnight Stout
    IPA - Red Squirrel Colarado IPA

    We couldn't help feel that the fest has become a bit of a victim of its own success however. By Friday evening the place was packed to capacity and a one-in-one-out policy meant the queue stretched around the block. Bigger venue next year please!

    Toque said...

    Will you support the campaign to get Alistair Darling banned from every pub in Britain?

    Simply print off the poster and get your landlord to put it up in your local.

    Tyson said...

    The Crospredy beer I had was from a freshly tapped barrel. It's only the second time I've come across such a taste in as many years. Last time it was a Scotish micro at a pub fest I helped out with. When we spoke to the brewer, he said that it's an indication of something gone wrong with the hops.