The Great British Beer Festival is something I’ve seen advertised but never managed to get to – we’ve usually been on holiday. However, it coincided with a trip to London this year and although I hadn’t planned on going, a few friends were meeting up for an ale so it seemed a fun destination.
Beers (in order of imbibement, breweries in brackets):
- Lees Bitter (Lees Brewery, Manchester)
- St Lawrence Ale (Yates, Cumbria)
- I Can’t Believe It’s Not Bitter (Oakleaf)
- Lakeland Gold (Hawkshead)
- Shugborough Farmer’s Half (Titanic)
- Cat’s Whiskers (Whittington)
- Summer Ale (Arkell’s)
- O-Garden (Otley, Glamorgan)
I think out of that lot, my favourite was “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Bitter”, which was one of those I got purely on name for the amusement value 🙂
Meanwhile it was great to finally meet Subhi after about 10 years of talking online, plus we bumped into Matt and his folks! I finally got round to joining CAMRA, and we finished the night off with a Turkish dinner somewhere up Earl’s Court to soak up the remains whereupon I fell asleep in the restaurant (well I had been up since 5:15am…!).
A lovely evening, but I think next time I’ll get to the GBBF a bit earlier – it was hellishly busy with folks who’d got there from work when I arrived at 6:30pm.
I had a pint in O’Donoghue’s tonight, at the top of George Street in Wakefield. For a long time it was a music-pub stalwart of Wakefield until it was utterly bloody destroyed by the bloke from the pub next door. Anyway, it’s got a new landlord and landlady. They’re really nice people, and seem to want to return it to its musical backdrop! Hurrah! Sadly it’s a bit empty right now because nobody knows it’s open, but THIS WILL CHANGE 🙂
Aaaaaanyway, they’re booked up for musical treats all the way to the end of April, and next Monday (17th March) they’ve booked Ryan and Alice for St Patrick’s Day musical fun. Get down there, the beer’s good, and the atmosphere will most probably be wonderful.
And they asked when Bored Housewife will be available for a gig. Seriously.
If headaches and hangovers are a measure of how good the previous night was, yesterday’s score at Keighley & Worth Valley Beer and Music Festival was spectacular. We left the house at around 10:30am and got to Keighley for the midday steam service, stopping off at Haworth for fish and chips then getting up to Oxenhope shed (including beers en route of course – the train bars were excellent!). Colin, Si, Howard and Sarah joined us on the service from Leeds to Keighley where we had jelly babies and took photos.
We were presently joined during the day by George and Lizzie who’d come over from Hebden Bridge, Ruth and Brian who’d had a 3-hour journey from Kettlethorpe (!), Jem and Lee (you can’t keep that man away from a festival if it’s got trains and beer), and many other friends who we bumped into. The kids were absolute stars, and had great fun dancing to Welsh-T Band.
Looking at my programme (where I usually number what I had and when) I managed to get through:
- Spotland Gold (Phoenix, Heywood)
- Tawny Bitter (Cotleigh, Somerset)
- Definitive (Durham Brewery)
- Gold (Green Mill, Rochdale)
- Good Ship Leonard (Newby Wyke, Lincs)
- K&WV Festival Ale (Goose Eye Brewery, Keighley)
- Cornish Knocker Ale (Skinner’s Brewing Co, Truro)
- Hornbeam Bitter (Hop Back Brewery, Wiltshire)
- Mid Autumn Gold (Mauldons, Suffolk)
- Lush (Hopstar Brewery, Lancashire)
- Hop Pickers Gold (Mayfields Brewery, Herefordshire)
- Carousel (Southport Brewery, Merseyside)
- Eden Pure Ale (Sharp’s Brewery, Cornwall)
- Pacific Bitter (Bank Top, Bolton)
- Blonde (Saltaire Brewery, Shipley)
- Arizona (Phoenix, Heywood)
- Rail Ale (Old Spot, Cullingworth)
The trip back was a bit hazy for me – I was utterly hammered according to Nicky and only just managed to hit the bench when I was sitting down. Because there were so many of us coming back to Wrenthorpe the cab wouldn’t take us, so we ended up getting a minibus from Leeds City Station back home (which actually worked out cheaper – thanks Fleet Taxis!). We had Chinese food for tea. I can’t remember any of it, but I assume I ate something since I didn’t feel too hungry this morning.
The hangover is almost gone now – photos of the day are here. Great to see so many old friends, and thanks to KWVR for a great day out!
Last night saw me popping off to the Wakefield Beer Festival, which (as seems to be usual now) took place at Lightwaves Leisure Centre. I arrived before any of my compadres so managed a few more than usual, half a pint of each of:
- Magna 800 (Wapping)
- Ale To The Tsar (Fernandes, Wakefield)
- Best (Ludlow Brewery, Shropshire)
- Idle Chef (Idle Brewery, Notts)
- Grasshopper (Westerham, Kent)
- Chameleon (Kelham Island, Sheffield)
- Woodcote (Hammerpot, West Sussex)
- Scotts 1816 (Copper Dragon, Skipton)
- Best Bitter (Ballards, Hampshire)
- Seasider (Ramsgate, Kent)
- Bishop’s Farewell (Oakham, Peterborough)
- OSB (Oldershaw, Lincolnshire)
- Takeout: Pater 6 (Sint Bernardus, Watou)
I was joined after the fourth by Lee and his friend Jerry, some odd nutter of a gentleman we’d never met before appeared around the fifth (he wah’d about his wife, then disappeared), and around the sixth Colin and Howard turned up. Howard flaunted his ginger beard in our general direction, which was nice.
Lightwaves is an odd venue for a beer festival – the main hall has no natural light, and gets very very stuffy during the course of the day owing to a lack of ventilation, plus of course the odour contributes to the general atmosphere (I pity the poor sods who’ll be wanting to use the changing rooms where the nearest toilet was – it stank).
A nice touch this year was the cheese stand provided by Cryer & Stott, my favourite cheesemongers who had some excellent Fountains Gold and the ubiquitous Yorkshire Blue.