Wadebridge Beer Festival June 30 2013

Welcome to post number 100 (for those of you keeping score). Today we will mostly be reading from the gospel according to CAMRA, after all it IS Sunday. I like to support the smaller boys and each year Wadebridge Lions in association with Wadebridge Wines run an intimate beer soiree in the area behind the off licence. £2 to get in and £2.50 a pint is a winning formula, long may it continue guys. Ruth will only have a few halves and pricing things this way works well for us. Her tipple of choice this year, Spingo Middle. I on the other hand tried around 12 of the 18 on offer, preferring the Harbour Light Ale at 3.7% ABV a light and well-hopped session ale. Well-matched alongside Amber, their sister ale at 4.0% ABV.

The guys from the Lions are a good bunch but not Real Ale savvy, all of the ales were therefore racked bright to avoid problems. I know, that it’s not technically “real” ale any longer but I’d defy any CAMRA member to tell the difference in a blind taste test. The ale list was quirky. The tasting notes mixed up with the beer names in some places but that just adds to the fun. A real (ale) voyage of discovery.

A word about the entertainment. Excellent. Nuff said! An eclectic mix from a local sea shanty group called the Shipwrecks to the more Bohemian sounds of the female singing duo (who also MC’d but I failed – or more likely I missed who they were). Opening with a storming rendition of Jolene, Chris and I considered asking them then-and-there to appear at next years’ Gloucester event. Note to self, Google ’em. Yep, ISIS. The Raffle announcer was priceless on the mike. The old feller’s finest BBC English; and while I don’t like pink champagne we bought a couple of tickets anyway. If you don’t support the cause there won’t be a next year. We’ll be back.

The beer list was *ahem* fluid. Never been to a fest yet that has all pre-advertised ales on and no extras on offer. Here’s what they had for you aficionados and in no specific order. I lie! Looking more carefully the list’s in fact in descending ABV strength. In my defence I am looking at this now sans beer-goggles:

Red Celtic Ale(Atlantic Brewery), Easterley(Atlantic Brewery) but billed as Lime, Chilli and Ginger – not to my taste I’m afraid. Lushington and Lions Pride (Skinners), Amber Pilsner and Heckeweizen (Sharps) although billed as Wig Wig … Cos’ they couldn’t spell it :-), Amber and Light Ale (Harbour), Bal Maiden (Rebel) – this one was malt-squared the aroma was like walking into a brewery itself – heavenly, Middle (Spingo), Golowan Ale, cryptically listed as 1 Hop 1 Grain (Cornish Crown) … huh? Merry Maidens Mild and Tennis Monster(why?) (Coastal), Bluehills Bitter – I have a note which says “yuk returned” as I reckon it’d been con-tam-in-ated (for all you Terry Nation fans out there) and Montol (Driftwood Spars). Don’t ask me who or what a Montol is; you can’t say this hasn’t been educational. North Shore IPA (Hogswood) – not sure how it can be an IPA at 3.8% and it had a curious hint of cheese as an after taste.

I’ve never been to an ale fest yet where there was any trouble but I’m not saying things don’t get fun after the odd sherbert. The two Tardis’ (I’m reliably informed that’s the correct plural for Tardis), you may know them as portaloos. Were subjected to a highly localised distortion in the space-time continuum (see wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey for clarification) when one was spun through 90 degrees, leaving the door facing the wall, to prevent its occupant from re-materialising 🙂

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