Friday, 24 February 2017

National Winter Ales Festival

I got given some guest tickets to the National Winter Ale Festival (thanks Outline Mag), handily being held in my home city of Norwich this year. I took my dad with me and between us we made quite a dent in the beer list seeing as we only had 3 hours. Dad even squeezed in a portion of macaroni cheese.

I tried to at least mark every beer we had, my dad sticking to porters generally and me sticking to blondes and pales we covered a lot. I made no attempt to make notes (I didn’t have anywhere near enough hands) and managed to take three pictures before giving up and just enjoying myself. At festivals I always try to drink beers and experience breweries I’ve not had before, which I managed for the most part. I tried a beer from Boudicca that I’d not had (even though I’m familiar with the local brewery) and was really disappointed when the Weird Beard ‘Little Things That Kill’ wasn’t on (mostly for the name alone) so settled for the Marianna Trench which I’ve had before.

My dad complained that all porters listed chocolate and/or coffee as tasting notes, then complained that there were tasting notes at all, then said my pale ales tasted like water. I said his porters tasted like burnt toast and wrinkled my nose. He loved the Lacons Old Ale (he wrote ‘V Nice’ next to it, which is as close to a glowing review as m’dad does). The recommended Pale Four from Tring stood out for me, in a good way, but other than that I just walked up to a space in the bar and asked for a recommendation. As usual the volunteers were beyond friendly and happy to chat about beer and the festival in general.

At points in the evening I lost my dad, thinking he’d wandered off, only to realise I was looking for him in the wrong place and should probably have eaten some mac and cheese myself. The evening went so quickly but I was still glad when my mum pulled up outside to give me a lift home yes, I'm in my thirties and still get lifts with my mum). I think the number of beers combined with the storm I might have ended up in the river if I'd have walked home…

Below is our final list, in no particular order:

Fyne Ales – Jarl
Boudicca – Golden Torc
Mordue - Northumbrian Blonde
Loch Lomund – Southern Summit
Tring – Pale Four
Weird Beard – Marianna Trench

Fullers - London Porter
Monty’s – Dark Secret
Adnams – Old Ale
Moor – Old Freddy Walker
Sulwath – Black Galloway

Lacons – Old Ale

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