Monday, 9 July 2012
SIBA South East Beer Festival
I haven't drunk that much English beer since my return from Bavaria the other week; I bought a fair few bottles of local stuff back with me, although it was touch and go as to whether my suitcase would be over the weight limit for the flight home! So apart from a few bottles of Ringwood Boon Doggle (which were excellent), that I picked up in Lidl's for the bargain price of £1.19, plus a bottle or three of Fuller's Bengal Lancer that were on promotion in Sainsbury's last week at three for £5.00, my sole sampling of English ale was an excellent pint of Thornbridge Jaipur, on sale over the weekend at our local JDW.
All that will change next weekend though, when Tonbridge Juddians Rugby Club play host to the 6th SIBA South East Beer Festival, at their club headquarters overlooking Tonbridge Sports Ground. This is the fourth time that TJ's have staged this prestigious event, which just seems to get better and better each year, and I must say I'm really looking forward to it. The festival acts as a show-case for SIBA members in the South-East Region, allowing them to exhibit their beers, and also to judge them alongside those of fellow members.
According to the festival website, there are 150 different cask beers to choose from, including offerings from companies I've never heard of, let alone had the pleasure of sampling. As is usual at such events Friday is reserved for the serious side of the festival, namely the judging. This takes place during the day, before the festival opens to the public at 5pm. There are eight categories in the draught section, plus five in the bottled, with separate awards for the best draught and the best bottled beers. That's an awful lot of beers for the judges to get through and to deliver their verdict in an un-biased and objective fashion, but I'm certain they'll manage it somehow!
If you live within travelling distance of Tonbridge, and bear in mind that the town has good rail links with London as well as many other locations in the South East, then do come along. Admission is free, and all beers are £3.00 a pint. As well as the cask ales, there will be a wide variety of bottled beers along with traditional cider. Food wise there will be various barbecued items, plus a hog-roast, and Friday night is billed as "Curry Night". There will also be a variety of local acts playing live on Saturday.
Hope to see you there!