Monday, 14 July 2014

Beer on the Wye X

There were two events on in Hereford on Saturday, and because I was there as a member of the public rather than as part of a re-enactment group, I could go to both.

It's the tenth year of Beer on the Wye, and it was a bit of a trip down memory lane for me, as I started with a third of a pint of Uley Bitter. I could taste more different beers if I stuck to thirds - and I also had a time limit because I had to get the four o'clock bus back to Hay.
Many years ago, I went on a CAMRA trip to Uley Brewery, in the Cotswolds - the beer doesn't usually travel very far from the brewery. I think the only exception to this is the Fleece at Bretforton, near Evesham, which is owned by the National Trust, and is every tourist's dream of what a traditional English pub should be like. I used to visit it reasonably regularly on trips to the Midlands.
I remember part of the Uley brewery was in low arched tunnels which Chas the brewer said had been part of the local hunt kennels at one time. He must have liked the Hereford CAMRA crowd, because he brought out his piano accordian and we sat down there having a sing song, and drinking his beer, before the coach took us home.
Then I went for a glass of Donningtons, also from the Cotswolds, on the grounds that my ex-husband once told me that he remembered drinking it when it was 2/- (that's two shillings, or ten pence) a pint - he was about fourteen at the time!

I was trying to drink one beer from each category, so those were the bitter and best bitter.
The speciality brew I went for was a local one - Wye Valley's Flower Power, brewed with elderflowers. That was lovely, well-rounded and sweet - but still not a patch on Wild Beacons, which was a one off brew by Buster Grant at the Breconshire Brewery a few years ago in aid of the Brecknock Wildlife Trust. That beer had elderflowers, nettle tops and honey, and was summer in a bottle! I've never tasted anything like it since.
Back up memory lane with Pendle Witches Brew from Moorhouses, a strong bitter from Lancashire which was just as good as I remembered it.
The porter was new to me - Beowulf's Finn's Hall Porter, and I finished off the session with Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby Mild, which is an excellent beer.

The winning beer of the Festival this year was Dark Star APA, a best bitter, with the strong bitter Millstone True Grit coming second and Jones the Brewer's Jean Paul Citra coming third overall and first in the local beer section - that was another strong bitter.
The Festival also stocks a lot of cider - which I don't drink very often, partly because it's usually a lot stronger than beer - but the winner there was Springherne, from Walford in Herefordshire.
It was all very enjoyable, and I had time to wander back to Castle Green for a last look round before the bus home.

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