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    Thursday, 2 October 2008

    Going Foreign In St Albans

    This year was the fourth time I've been to St Albans Beer Festival. In terms of beer selection it's pretty good with a nice balance of common stuff, rarer stuff from new breweries and lots of local beers. Being in CAMRA's hometown there's a bit of beer journo spotting to be done earlier in the week too.

    One thing I've been disappointed with over the years though has been the beer quality. I could conjecture as to the cause of the beer not tasting as fresh as it could be, but I'm sure my opinions would have their critics. I do think though that indoor festivals during the warmer months do have their difficulties.

    But UK beer festivals are often much more than cask beer these days, and St Albans has a great foreign selection. This year was no exception so I took my Belgian beer glass along and worked my way through a number of new (to me) foreign beers. It's a more expensive way of enjoying a beer festival but at least condition isn't an issue. It's something I could find myself doing more and more.

    For the record I drank:

    Mikkeller It's Alight!
    Het Levenswater Dikke Deur Blont
    Riedenburger Michaeli Dunkel Hefeweissbier
    Agullons Pura Pale Extra Bitter
    Alvinne Lex'ke
    Klein Duimpje Juniper Ale
    Flying Dog Road Dog Scottish Porter
    Scheldebrouwerij 't Schoenlappertje

    The last beer and the Juniper ale were the worst of the bunch, whilst the clear winner was the hoppy and bretty Mikkeller; another triumph for his superb Danish brewery.

    I can get cask ales any day I want in my good local freehouses, but these unusual foreign beers are much more uncommon, and a treat to behold.


    YCC - Dubbel said...

    Shame the cask quality is a disappointment. We were considering doing St Albans this year. Was it just the Indian summer, do you think?

    Bailey said...

    We've done the same thing at festivals in the past.

    Whilst cask ale is a wonderful thing worth fighting tooth and nail to preserve, it's not the be-all and end-all. Something by Mikkeler from a bottle or Shepherd Neame Master Brew from a cask...? I know which one I'd choose 9 times out of 10.

    Downender said...

    I have been to St Albans several times in the past and would agree with you about the beer quality. If I couldn't attend the first day, I would also drink the foreign bottled beers only.