Monday, May 07, 2007

The Beer Tent - Dales Festival pt 2!!!

…Judging by the already-heaving marquee at just after 11am. The Dales Festival of Food & Drink isn’t just about local suppliers and hog-roasts…no, it’s about beer too. Lots of it, from the county that regards itself as the best in the UK.
And I intend to take full advantage of that.

Where to start, where to start….

Well, upon being faced with at least 50 kegs of beer I fought the urge to go for some of my favourite brews (Copper Dragon, Black Sheep and Rooster’s in particular) and heeded the advice of my partner to ‘go for something you haven’t tried before'; and therein lies the beauty of the Beer Festival. It’s about the tasting, not the boozing. Honest.
Anyway, this seemed like a good strategy and with an excellent pulled-pork and stuffing sandwich lining my stomach I began.

First to be tried was the Goose Eye Chinook Blonde. Goose Eye is a great micro-brewery from Keighley, and I had sampled their excellent beers before. The Chinook was very hoppy, pale in colour and with a fresh, grassy aroma and, to my palate, a really long flavour. Not a bad start!

Next up was the Old Moor Porter from Acorn in Wombwell. I’m a bit of a porter aficionado and this brew makes me wonder why more people, especially those who like stouts, don’t try porter. The Old Moor was dry but with subtle hints of chocolate and coffee; not as overpowering as some porters, this was really a really impressive tipple.

Finally, after a little more food and more shopping, I tried the Captain Oates Mild from Abbey Bells Brewery – seeing as though it’s 'Mild in May' month. Again, this was a darker mild, with a similar overall taste to the porter, with coffee notes on the nose. However, this was particularly refreshing and a beer I would happily try again.

The sight of all the kegs lined up truly was a sight to get the tastebuds tingling, and a good reminder of the number of excellent, truly independent brewers we have in the North. Abbey Bells, Bradfield, Cameron’s, Hambletons, Old Bear, Ossett and Suddaby’s all were represented among many, many others, and the only downside to the day was that I couldn’t try them all.

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