Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Friday at Great Welsh Beer Cider Festival 2012

It was friday, it was Wales, it was raining.

hey - deja vu!!!

Actually the clouds lightened up a bit as I walked to the festival, texts informing me that my partner in crime this year (cruelly his wife made him go on holiday last year) had arrived and started without me. Well I would too!

Just the same as last year I made sure the first drink was one from Otley that I'd been unable to locate before, this one being '07 Weissen' (5%). And a great start and a kick in the senses for your first afternoon drink it was too. Cloves, orange and great wheat taste in a hazy yellow half glass. The bitterness was great, drying my mouth completely.

My next was more out of curiosity for the brewery more than anything.
I'd not heard of the Pixie Spring brewery before and they were listed as being based in Llantrisant which is quite close to me. Their Prince of Bengal IPA had already sold out so I went for the Deliverance APA. This had the cask labelled as 'Hazy' although it was only lightly so,  its 4.5% with 4 hops in it, some I suspect are the 'C' crowd as it gave some lovely lemon, perhaps grapefruit mostly, with a good dryness, light and fresh, very enjoyable. Later I found some of their flyers which listed a 'Black Army Stout', which was a beer I tried last year from the 'Llantrisant brewery' so I'm assume Pixie Spring is their new name. One to watch in Wales.

Gazz at Tiny Rebel stand
The Tiny Rebel brewery from Newport have only been going a few months, I did a 'Meet the Brewer' Q&A with then back in February. I'd only had their FUBAR before, fantastic it was too, and the display looked might impressive and extremely busy. Looking at various tweets before I even arrived I knew that FUBAR through the Hop Rocket, beers infused by being pulled through fresh hops in-line at the bar, had been the first beer to sell out on the first day. Restocked, I realised I had better get there soon before it went again. The hops being used were Amarillo according to the chalk note, the beer being the replenished FUBAR, a 4.4% APA, light yellow in colour, citrus and grassy, biscuit malts, very good.

By now I'd managed to introduce myself to a very busy Gazz and had a good chat, top bloke, happy to explain the workings behind a bar at a busy beer festival, their beers and future plans. I'd moved onto their 'Dirty Stop Out' after talking about smoked beers with Gazz, its a 5% smoked oat stout.
There is a good amount of smoke with it, small hits of dark chocolate with nice bitterness, with great smoothness alongside some vanilla, plus some spice that tickled the sides of my tongue.
They want to make it smokier, I've no complaints with that, but this was by far my beer of the festival as it was.

By now we'd jumped into the seats of a couple who barely hinted they were putting their coats on, you have to be that quick. Obviously there was more tables than last year again but with the popularity of this festival plenty more tables and chairs are required. The new token system seemed to work better from a punters point of view, no more losing torn off tickets.

Next up, Celt Experience 'Silures' , listed as a golden hoppy ale 4.6%. Grassy on the nose, golden yellow, but I got a lot of butter from it, too much for my liking, it was a struggle to finish this to be honest. Shame as all their beers I've had before are pretty good, I'll have to try it again and give it a 2nd chance.

Cant quite remember which one this was! (Possibly 'Cwtch')
The foreign bar was considerably lighter on choice than previous years, Czech Budvar providing 3 (well technically 4) options. The Original and Dark were on offer, plus a 'half n half' tap that drew from both lines. The other beer they brought was 'Yeast' 5%, an unpasteurised version of the Original, and this was the one that tempted me. Cold, obviously, crisp and clean, bitter finish, malty but balanced lager. Wasn't terribly exciting though.
Hopefully next year the organisers will go back to having a larger selection of foreign beers, on tap and bottled.

As I said in my pre-festival post the Waen 'Chilli Plum Porter' sounded like one to seek out. When I went round it seemed to be very popular, and I now know why. At 6.1% its a gorgeously fruity beer, subtle on the chilli, lovely spice floating around the mouth with a dry edge to it. Very good beer, I'd love to sit back with a pint of this again.

Going light again I plumped for Ilkley 'Mary Jane', 3.5% pale ale which was pretty good, very dry and hoppy, thin body but great flavours for a low abv beer. Would be a great summer session beer.

I turned back to Tiny Rebel at this point for the new 'Cwtch' a red ale 4.6%, brewed also with only 'C' hops. Great malty tones, herbal notes and taste, with matched citrus/lemon from those hops. Some caramel sweetness also. See Beer Lens for a great shot of the pump clip.

Up to the Brains bar next for one new to me, Jack Black, an oatmeal stout at 4.3%. My notes say a lighter body than the 2 previous stouts/porters I had that day, good roast flavour, good long bitterness, very pleasant. I also took a half of the Organ Morgan, a 4% golden ale, my notes underlined 'floral' in their description of the beer, it was a nice and smooth and a good way to end the evening.

The awards of the festival were announced whilst I was there, overall winner being the Barley Wine 'High as a Kite' from the tiny Heart of Wales, which was nice to see a speciality beer winning a national award.

If Tiny Rebel can maintain the high standard they have set so far with their beers I predict they will be picking up some awards next year, no doubt about it (to be eligible you have to have been brewing for a year).

Thanks to Cardiff CAMRA for another great festival.

My Beer of the Festival - Tiny Rebel 'Dirty Stop Out'

No comments:

Post a Comment