Sunday, 13 July 2014

8th SIBA South East Beer Festival - A Few Reflections

I ended up picking several bummers on the second day of the SIBA South East Beer Festival. I’m not certain if it was down to dodgy casks, some poorly formulated recipes, or a combination of both. Fortunately I was drinking halves, so it didn’t matter that much; well not to me, but I thought it would have been of concern to the breweries involved, especially as the beers were being judged as an integral part of the festival!

It is possible to get the odd cask which hasn’t quite been cleaned thoroughly enough and this could lead to off-flavours, or even infection within the beer, but  surely when you know your beer is going to be showcased at a festival, and judged by your peers, you would take extra care over hygiene practices at the brewery?

A poorly formulated recipe is a different thing altogether, and to some extent can be largely a matter of individual taste. Again though; your beer is being judged against many others, and most will have been formulated to provide the right degree of balance within a particular style of beer, and most would be expected to conform to the requirements, and characteristics of that style concerned.

Anyway, gripe over and I have to say that yesterday was a cracking one at the festival, with the fine summer weather helping to boost attendance. Most people sat outside on the grass, where they could either listen to the various live acts performing or, could move a bit further away and just enjoy chilling out with their friends or family. I say family, as this particular festival attracts a lot of families, which is always good to see.

I didn’t make it down today, for the last day of the festival, but I imagine that most of the beer will have sold out, given the way things were going last night, but after that bit of moaning at the beginning of this post, how about ending on a positive note for what was an outstanding beer festival, by naming some of the really excellent beers I tried.

Andwell – Gold Muddler 3.9%; East London – Pale Ale 4.0%; Hackney – Best Bitter 4.4% & American Pale Ale 4.5%; Tap East – Smokestack Porter 6.5%; West Berkshire – Mr Chubb’s Lunchtime Bitter 3.7%.

A special thanks to all the SIBA breweries who supplied their beers to the festival, and to the army of hard-working volunteers from Tonbridge Juddians Rugby Club who made the whole thing possible.

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