Monday 27 April 2009

Farnham Beerex

Saturday night was Farnham Beer Exhibition. It's my favourite beer festival. It's held at the old maltings, a venue that actually has some atmosphere.

There was a slight hitch at the start as I'd forgotten the poxing tickets and had to run back home for them before we got the train. I certainly earned my first pint. 

Over 80 beers were on offer, and a selection of scrumpy ciders for those who really wanted to dissolve some brain cells. No foreign beer bar though, so some of my friends who normally seek solace there were stuck with cask beer. 

I started off on Dark Star's Chestnut Ale, which was sadly a bit disappointing. I'm a fan of this brewery but the beer was brown and sweet and that's about it. 

Twickenham Fine Ales didn't let me down though, and both their Naked Ladies and Pale Beauty (a wheat beer) went down a treat. Good, hoppy beers I'd happily drink anytime. 

I was pleased to find Abbey Ales Bell Ringer on offer I'd heard good things about the brewery. It's an amber coloured beer nicely balanced with citrusy hops.

Several more beers followed, the exact details of which are now a little vague. A few had the whiff of wet dog about them, even beers that we've previously found to be great, like York Guzzler and Dr Hexter's Healer. Not sure what causes this, but off putting though it is it doesn't affect the taste. 

Beer of the festival for me was Oakham's Bishop's Farewell. I drink their JHB whenever I can find it so I couldn't resist trying something stronger from them. It's a cracking pale beer with the unmistakable taste of cascade hops. The lovely Lisa spotted this in an instant, which lead to her being accused of being a beer geek. An unfair accusation I think, I mean it's not like she's got a beer blog or anything.

At Farnham beer has to be paid for in tokens. An irritating system that can lead to even more over consumption than normal as you run round pissed at the end of the festival trying to use up the last of your tokens before they turn into worthless pieces of paper at 11 o'clock. This time I'd judged it about right, getting through a tenners worth and only needing to scrounge a couple off a mate to pay for my last half. Until Jimmy came running up with a fat wad of tokens and saying there was an emergency at 20 to 11 that is. It seems he'd lost track of the time and just bought another tenners worth. As no one wanted to see them go to waste we all trooped down to the bar and got guzzling. I managed a couple of Naylor's porter before the surplus token crisis was resolved. Nice beer it was too, but I don't think the final guzzling did me any good for the next day.

So I decided to have a day off the beer on Sunday, even though I was staying up to watch the boxing. Well done to Carl Froch, though he did cut it a bit fine.

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