Spring Beer Festival is already into its second week, with not so much as a whimper about it anywhere in the blogosphere. I haven’t seen any of my CAMRA chums for a few weeks, so I’ve not had any feedback from them, but when I spoke to my old drinking buddy and walking partner on the phone the other day, he was very dismissive of the event saying, "It’s full of beers with strange flavours or with twigs floating in them!"
Now my friend is a die hard real ale drinker; even though he’s not a CAMRA member, so I sort of expected a comment like that, but my curiosity got the better of me, and I looked at the festival website to see what is on offer this year.
Before discussing the list further, it’s worth pausing to reflect that there was a time when the Spoon’s festival really was an event to look forward to and to even get excited about, so what has gone wrong? The short answer is probably nothing, although I suspect that many writers and beer lovers, and I include myself here, have become blasé or complacent even about an event which showcases 50 different beers.
I’m sure that some of these beer extremes have started to filter down into the real pub world of boring brown bitter and cooking lager, if not physically then at least in name, so I can’t see your average Wetherspoon's John Smiths Smooth drinker being particularly enamoured by what is on offer. Most CAMRA members I know are a little different, and certainly a lot more discerning; discerning enough to give the majority of the festival beers a closer inspection.
As I say, I’ve been out of the loop for a few weeks, but the chit-chat which would normally be taking place amongst our WhatsApp group, just hasn’t happened this time round. I suspect that certain key individuals have their heads down due to work commitments; I have had a very busy few months at work, and things don’t look like easing up any time soon, but surely everyone’s not in the same boat? Have other Bloggers run out of things to say about the Spoon’s festival? Is it just so old hat these days that no-one bothers?
Moving on to the festival itself; there are 50 beers available which include 11 medal-winning brews, from last years CAMRA Great British Beer Festival. As the website says, there is something to suit everyone, from best bitter to port stout, from wheat beer to cask lager. The company have also continued their practice of inviting a handful of overseas brewers over to brew a version of one of their own beers at a UK brewery.
Saltaire Brewery’s speciality stout Saltaire Triple Chocoholic; definitely a worthy winner in its class at last year’s festival.
All in all then a pretty good line up, and certainly not one to be sniffed at. I probably won’t be making a special trip down to my local Spoon’s, but I’ll definitely call in if I’m passing. You can get full details by clicking on the Wetherspoon’s website here.