17 June 2008

Ale’s Well that Ends Well at the Western Festival

As you will know from my previous entry, the 6th – 8th of this month saw the Western hosting what I believe to be its second beer festival. Naturally I took time out to pay a couple of visits and sample some of the ales on offer...

A copy of the beer list I had received less than a week earlier indicated that the event would be kicking off on Thursday the 5th, with 22 beers listed and the promise of an additional 10.

I duly turned up shortly after midday on Thursday, only to be informed upon arrival that there had been a mix up over dates and the festival would not be starting until the following day...

Somewhat nonplussed by this turn of events I headed back home, wondering as I walked just how this rather unfortunate mistake could have been made. Luckily for me I live close by and hadn't travelled any real distance!

Arriving back at the pub the following afternoon I was presented with a revised (and somewhat diminished) beer list – the promise of an additional 10 beers had gone, and the list was now down to 20 ales with 6 of these being kept back until the following day; moreover, some of the beers originally detailed had been replaced at the last minute by stock originally lined up for sale later in the week.

Determined to make the best of the situation I set aside my growing concerns about the organisation of the festival and got down to the serious task of supping. Despite the reduced selection there were still a few beers I was keen to try, plus a couple of brews I’d sampled previously but needed notes for.

Unfortunately, much as I would have liked to rip through everything I was after in one sitting, I had work commitments and sadly had to leave after a relatively short time. Accordingly I returned on the Saturday for a little mopping up...

During my 2 sessions I sampled Clark'sRed Rag Mild and No Angel (both 4.0%), Full MashOuija (3.7%), FunfairBrandy Snap (4.7%), HoustonBig Lusty May (4.3%), Shugborough [Titanic]Mi Lady's Fancy and Lordship's Own (4.6% and 5.0% respectively), RudgateBattleaxe (4.2%) and Steamin’ BillyGrand Prix Mild (3.6%)

All of these were dispensed on gravity, and I found the condition to be generally very good; the only notable exception to this was the Houston, which was still very green.

Overall then a slightly shambolic affair, but the ale that was ultimately available pretty much made up for it.

Here's hoping next time they organise things a little more effectively!


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