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    Sunday, 24 August 2008

    Peterborough Beer Festival 2008

    I can get to Peterborough by bus from where I live. That's to say I need to leave my house before 8am to get to the festival before it opens at noon. It's a long journey obviously but armed with a good book and making occassional glances up from the pages to people watch, it goes by quicker than you'd think.

    Of course the timings aren't so perfect that you arrive at the festival just before it opens, thus I found myself fifteenth in the queue at 11:20 grateful that the weather was clement enough for the forty minute wait.

    The gates opened timeously and a table was grabbed and beer drinking commenced. I've always enjoyed my trips to the festival, and this year was no different, but somehow the beer quality seemed less good this year. It could, of course, have been my fault; I do have a tendency to buy beers from new breweries, and sometimes quality is sadly an issue.

    That said, I did have a couple of impressive beers. Son Of Sid Muckcart Mild is a full bodied mild with great smoky and roasty overtones. There is a slight lactic quality to it as well. Better than that though was Ascot Anastasia's Exile Stout. My second beer from this relatively new brewery. This is a superb dry, roasty stout with some excellent bitterness. It's a beer I'd heard good things from, and it didn't disappoint.

    I normally drink fairly sensibly at festivals, but something must have gone adrift in my head as two of the three last drinks I had were a brandy cask cider and a mead. I don't like brandy and I don't like honey, so I don't know what was going on here. The mead has one of the nastiest sweet aromas I've ever smelled. Please, please if anyone drinks with me in the future, don't allow me to make stupid mistakes like these again.

    In spite of feeling a little let down by the drinks, I shall doubtless return to what is the second largest beer festival in the country. It's a good chance for me to meet up with some drinking buddies; some of whom are recent friends, some I've known for years. If it were further from home though, I would certainly think twice.


    Anonymous said...

    why did you turn up so early and stand outside? why not just arrive at or after opening time?

    YCC - Dubbel said...

    Had the Anastasia Exile Stout a few months back at Bexley, very nice & earthy. Did you manage to try the Twickenham porter?

    Paul Garrard said...

    I find the Thursday afternoon the best time to visit. Lots of choice and not too crowded.

    hughie said...

    Feeling guilty now about leading you astray with that mead...

    maeib said...

    Anon - Last year I turned up about 20 mins before opening and still queued for about 40 mins because they had a strange system where members had to have an armband. So I was not in a position to drink until about 20 past!

    Dubbel - I did yes; it was ok. No aroma and a decent taste with good oatmeal notes.

    Paul - Thursday is good as there's no kick out.

    Hughie - Yes. You bloody should :-)

    haddonsman said...

    You old woman. The mead was ruddy lovely. And you missed the Hopshackle Restoration. I don't know what you were drinking at the time, but I've a corking photo of you and Hughie over at