05/05/18 Saturday

Barnsley CAMRA Beer Festival

I persuaded my better half to drive me to and from an excellent beer festival held on the grounds of Elsecar Heritage Railway at the Elsecar Heritage Centre.

This was the day after the Tour de Yorkshire had passed through so the village was decked out with blue and yellow bunting and bicycles.

The sun brings out all sorts of characters, mostly with beards and bellies. The men are even worse, sporting rock tour tee shirts that are unbelievable – for example, I saw a pot-bellied middle aged accountant proudly wearing a tee proclaiming his attendance at at least one concert by The Damned and another neat coiffed 50s bloke with an AC/DC tour tee stretched over his beer belly. Their ladies were attempting to get some natural colouring for their sagging décolletage prominently displayed above a beer enhanced waistline.

Food was available to soak up the alcohol with burgers, pizzas and hot dogs on offer. We chose a Malaysian stall offering street food. The noodles with tofu chunks nearly blew our heads off and certainly destroyed my tastebuds towards the end.

Music was being provided in the opposite corner to the portaloos with some young lady trying unsuccessfully to bang out covers of classic songs from people as diverse as Avril Lavigne and Rod Steward. Against all this, there was a general sense of bonhomie and friendship, although the voices were getting noticeably louder as we left after three hours of pleasant tasting.

My tasting notes are as follows (in order of tasting):

Titanic (Stoke-on-Trent) – Plum Porter – 4.9%

This beer is dark strong and well rounded; the richness of such a rotund beer is brought to an even keel by the late addition of Goldings hops and natural plum flavouring. Take the opportunity and go for the low hanging fruit, this sumptuous beer really is a plum! My observations: This is not Guinness but it is an impressive stout with rich overtones. ⭐️⭐️


Bank Top (Bolton) – Flat Cap – 4%

A pale bitter, hoppy with a citrus finish. My observations: A good pale beer with a strong hop flavour and balanced taste. ⭐️⭐️


Blackjack (Manchester) – Small Saison – 4%

Very pale and very grassy on the nose, with a nice subtle lemon citrus note on the palate. My observations: An excellent pale beer by far the best tasted, even better than Flat Cap. Could drink it all day. 🌟🌟🌟

http://www.blackjack-beers.com/ (website under construction)

Golden Duck (Leicestershire) – Hayle’s Ale – 3.8%

Light golden ale with a citrusy palate. My observations: A very smooth hoppy ale similar to Flat Cap but more cloudy and darker. ⭐️⭐️


Fuggle Bunny – Malty Mayhem (Sheffield) – 3.6%

Traditional mild, smooth and creamy, dark and decadent with rich roast and malty goodness. My observations: Thin and watery, dark but not particularly pleasant. 🍋


Geeves (Stairfoot, Barnsley) – Renaissance Red Ale – 4.1%

Deep red ale packed with sweet malts giving flavours of dark fruits and molasses. American Willamette hops bring hints of floral apricot and peach. My observations: Undrinkable! Sour and with a variety of unwelcome aftertastes. Poured it away so I could fill my glass with something palatable. 🍋🍋


Quantock (Bishops Lydeard, Taunton) – Sunraker – 4.2%

A refreshing straw coloured ale delicately hopped with Perle hops giving a clean, grassy hop aroma. My observations: Clean and fresh, really good on a hot summer day, a refreshing change. ⭐️⭐️

https://www.quantockbrewery.co.uk/. (Website under construction)

North Brewing Co. (Leeds) – Imperial Stout – 8%

North’s collaboration with Basqueland Brewing Project where the addition of brown sugar adds a warm round sweetness to the background of the beer while the malts give you a big fat sloppy kiss that’s laden with coffee and dark chocolate, honey biscuits, dandelion and burdock, cola, charcoal and prunes. My observations: Thick and sweet, unlike anything I’ve tasted before. At 8% abv it’s not something to be drunk in quantity and a £4 for half a pint it’s not something you could afford to drink in quantity. ⭐️


After that it all gets a little hazy – must be the effect of the crowds and the sun.

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