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.