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
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.