Right - another weekend, another Beer Festival. Love them or hate them, you at least get a chance to try as many beers as possible in a short space of time. Why a short space of time? Because once there, you kind of want to leave....
Anyway - it's not about the people there, it's about the beer. And that's why I love beer festivals - because I am like a child in a sweet shop. Still. At my age.
This one, an annual event, but one that includes a pleasant ride on a steam train on the beautiful Keighley & Worth Valley railway, is one of the better ones. I did plan to have a pint of Taylor's on the ride but to be honest, the tiny beer carriages were rammed. No bother - ten minutes later and we're in Beervana.
The Oxenhope tramshed the festival is held in makes a nice change - the hulking steam trains make an interesting backdrop to boozing. The blues and jazz bands playing make a pleasant sound - although not particularly conducive to conversation - and the beer selection is excellent. In fact, my quest to finally taste Thornbridge's Jaipur IPA ended here. And boy, am I glad it did. An excellent beer; sweet as hell to start and then drying out to pucker the lips and deliver that grassy, hoppy bitterness true of a true IPA. I know it's jaded now, almost a year after notoriety, but I loved this. Gimme more.
Dark Star's Hophead impressed, as did Mallinson's Conkered - a rich, malty mild that certainly hit the spot. Oakham's JHB followed much the same style - very nice indeed. Second only to the Jaipur, Salopian's excellent Oracle deserves a mention. Flowery hops and a crisp, pale profile really stripped the palate back and refreshed after a couple of milds. Good work - one brewery I'll be keeping an eye out for.
Looking around, I noticed the breadth of beers showing at this weekend jaunt. Goose Eye's Bronte gained a thumbs-up from our drinking party, as did O'Hanlan's Port Stout - which admittedly looked delicious. I had my eye on a few beers which I didn't get to try; Triple FFF had their (surely prohibitively?) named Pressed Rat & Warthog going great guns, Milestone were pouring a raspberry wheat beer, and Durham had a massive selection, including one of my faves, their Amarillo. Greenfield also deserve a mention for seemingly (in my head, at least) naming a beer after my current fave Leeds Utd player - Delph Donkey (What next? Beckford's Best? Becchio Bitter? Ankegren Ale?) - add to this a decent bottle bar and - most importantly - Roast Pork Sandwiches - and you've got one pleasant Saturday's drinking.