Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Great British Beer Festival 2014 - Picks of the Festival

Yesterday was the first day of the Great British Beer Festival 2014 at Kensington Olympia. This annual event is a huge celebration of British beer brought to London by CAMRA. As well as some of the best cask ale around you can pick up interesting beers from all over the world. We thought it would be useful to highlight some of the best beers we tasted on the first afternoon of the festival. It wouldn't be possible to taste all of the beers and ciders at the festival given that there are over 900 of them, so here are some of the most interesting we tasted. A great way to search through the hundreds of beers is to use the GBBF Beer Selector which you can find here

  • Burning Sky - Plateau, 3.5% (B4); Burning Sky are based in East Sussex, and the brewery was set up by Mark Tranter, formerly head brewer of Dark Star. This pale ale is zesty with tropical fruits and bitter hops, and was Sam's beer of the festival. At such a low ABV it's a great session beer.
  • Brains - Frisco, 4.4% (B11); A Californian Common, this very drinkable beer from Brains Craft Brewery, is bitter and hoppy, with notes of tropical fruits.
  • Blakemere - Cherry Baby, 4.0% (B1); This cheshire brewery obviously enjoy playing with the addition of unusual ingredients, this cherry mild has notes of coffee, a pronounced cherry flavour and a nice level of bitterness - it's very drinkable (although it's a shame about the pump clip).
  • Dominion - Pitfield Raspberry Wheat, 5.0% (B5); This Essex brewery have got this raspberry wheat beer nailed, cloudy, with a floral soapy scent, it's a fruity, cakey wheat beer with hints of banana and raspberry.
  • Havant - The Foggiest 4.5% (B8); Love the name! A classic wheat beer, very drinkable, with notes of banana and spice.

  • Tilquin - Oude Gueuze a L'Ancienne (in bottle), 6.0% (B7); Sadly the draft version wasn't on yesterday, so we opted or the bottle version instead, as ever a stand out gueuze, utterly delicious, and a shock to the tastebuds after some of the more classic British beers.
  • Oliver's; Brandy Perry, 6.3% (B22); We love Tom Oliver's ciders so this Brandy Perry is a real treat to try, and was Claire's pick of the show. Very heavy on the (natural) pear, with bags of flavour. Very drinkable, and you barely notice the alcohol. Their single varietal cider on the same stand is also fantastic, with woody barnyardy notes - proper cider!
  • Brooklyn - Brooklyn Bitter, 5.0% (B20); Billed as an English-style pale ale, and it is exactly that! Honey and butterscotch notes, very lightly hopped for an American beer, and very drinkable.
  • Bateman - Black & White, 3.6% (B10); We haven't been hugely impressed with some of Bateman's recent releases so it's a pleasant surprise to try this mild with its nutty, roasted, coffee flavours and a slight hint of sweetness.
  • Hogs Back - Collaboration, 5.0% (B11); A collaboration beer between Hogsback and beer blogger and home brewer extraordinare Andy Parker, this one off brew is intensely hoppy but with a complex and deeply satisfying malt character.
  • Dogfish Head - Sixty One (in bottle), 6.5% (B19); It's such a shame that the US brewery Dogfish Head have stopped shipping to the UK so this rare opportunity to try some should be grabbed. This is their fabulous 60 minute IPA with added Californian syrah grape must - this was a takeaway bottle, so stayed tuned for a review coming soon.

1 comment:

Johnnie Lustoza said...

A really good festival. Hope to go there next year. Cheers