It's a shame I went to The Victoria Inn Beer Festival two days before Pan-C, it would have been fun to share a few jars. Thursday however was my day of choice, and I had a good but solitary time.
Before the Victoria I nipped in The Merchants Inn whose Beer Festival I've previously written about. I have to say that sadly the choice of beers at the bar was somewhat boring, with offerings from Thwaites and Theakstons amongst the eight real ales on offer. I had a quick half of Warwickshire Best Bitter, which was below average and left. I feel it is good sense for a pub this good to have a good range of beers on when a pub in the same town is having a festival, but obviously others think different.
From there I walked to The Vic. Pan-C writes very eloquently about the pub, and I have to say what a great boozer it is. The type of back street local we would all like, and so proud of its beer range with the handpumps standing like brave soldiers plumping out their chests. The back yard is perfect for a small stillage like we had for the festival. I had four beers from out back and three from inside. I was a bit disappointed with Taunton Castle, my first beer from this Somerset brewery but enjoyed all the other beers I tried including the hot, hot, hot Chilli Haze from Atomic. This is no Cave Creek Chili Beer. Instead it's really warming, and inviting, and almost has aphrodisiac qualities. Certainly the best chilli beer I've had.
The Victoria is a top pub which I shall return to. The festival was well organised, and the beers carefully chosen. It was quiet on my visit, but hopefully busy at other times; it certainly deserved to be. I'm sure they will have another festival before the end of the year, but why wait that long before going back?