Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tonbridge's first beer festival....

Quite a few people have commented about the South East Beer Festival, held in Tonbridge over the weekend. Some were impressed, some not so. I now feel ever so slightly guilty having not been able, not felt like, forgot, had something else on, had to finish my book, had to get the grass cut before it chucked down, had to phone my sister, had to sort the car out, and all those other excuses to go myself in the end. From what I saw though having peered behind the rugby club a couple of times it did look reasonably well attended, although that really is just a passer by's snap shot. I'm not quite sure how many people they expect at such events. Perhaps one comment on this post had it spot on when they said that it appeared to be a rugby club event. It was at the TJs clubhouse, the large marquee was pretty well hidden behind it and the posted had two rugby players passing a beer barrel to each other (instead of a ball, geddit?) which on reflection was a little confusing to the potential visitor. I know myself from organising book fairs and other cultural events in Tonbridge that it can be very difficult on a low PR and advertising budget, to get people their on the day, that said their are enough visitors usually to make these events work. Perhaps as the event gets more established there, if they decide to keep it at the Tonbridge Juddians clubhouse that is, and the organisers get the message across that it isn't just for rugger buggars, it will work much better. After all they couldn't have had better weather conditions. At the risk of being slated by Paul Bailey, a regular commenter on this blog and also a proper real ale connoiseur, I might also suggest that maybe just maybe though, thinking about it, many people prefer like me to drink gassy lager in hot weather, instaed of all that treacley and hoppy stuff. Or isthat a hangable offence in CAMRA circles!!..

7 comments:

Paul Bailey said...

The scaffold is being built even as I write Tonbridge Blogger!

Seriously though, as the festival was a show-case for beers produced by members of the Society of Independent Brewers, it was hardly surprising that cold, fizzy, mass-produced global lager brands did not feature on the beer list! Having said that, there was a very palatable Helles (a Munich-style, pale lager) from Meantime Brewery of Greenwich. True to form, this was served chilled and by gas-pressure.

Come on Tonbridge Blogger, give your taste-buds a treat and give the Fosters and other fizzy rubbish a miss. If you really don't like traditional English ale, there are some very good true Continental lagers available. Check out Budvar or Staropramen from the Czech Republic - available from Sainsburys and Waitrose, for example.

Oh, by the way, proper beer is supposed to taste of malt and hops; not chemicals!

Anonymous said...

Indeed. Did you try 'I can't believe it's not bitter'?

Paul Bailey said...

Yes I did. For the un-initiated,it's a cask-conditioned lager, and a pretty good drop at that. The Sevenoaks Lions Festival also featured a cask lager; this time Bohemian Pilsner, from Whitstable Brewery.

Whilst on the subject, have drank some excellent beers in Germany and Austria that are dispensed straight from wooden casks - most recently in Cologne, but also in Munich and Salzburg. Puts a whole new slant on the "lager thing", and light years removed from swill like Fosters and Carling etc.!

Bex said...

I've been to a few beer festivals and, although I don't regularly drink "proper" beer, I do love testing out local brews and finding more that I like. I was delighted by Tonbridge's beer festival - festivals are often held indoors, which is such a shame, but this was great - sitting in the sun sipping ale and comparing with my friends and a jolly excellent hog roast to boot.

I did hear someone in the club house bemoaning the fact that the Fosters had run out which made me smile. People need to expand their taste buds a bit beyond the chemicals!

We heard a rumour that, all being well, the festival will return to Tonbridge next year which I am delighted about. A beer festival 2 minutes from my house can only be a good thing!

Tonbridge blogger said...

Paul Bailey: you can say what ever you like about Carling Black Label but I won't have you denigrate the Amber Nectar!!..

Tonbridge blogger said...

This definitely seems to be a discussion for the boys doesn't it! I do take the point about some of those lagers for the connoiseur like Budvar, Hogarten? Staropramen etc. I've tried quite a few of them in my time; but the trouble is they are all a bit strong. You see a lager for me, especially in the hot summer months has to be refreshing; for me that means ice cold and none too potent. I suppose it does depend on whether you are out with a few mates all evening or whether you're just enjoying a glass or two relaxing in the back garden after work. In the main though, at the end of the day, I just prefer what I like to call "cooking lager." That's not to say I don't partake of the odd pint of real ale, in fact I love some like Larkins, Ramsbottom, Old Hooky, Old Swaledale Shepherds Crook to name a few, but I reserve them for cold winter evenings usually with a small malt whiskey "chaser" like Talisker ( a touch on the peaty side,) or The Glenlivet (very smooth and rich.) Now, single malts that really is a whole new discussion!

JonathanH said...

A thoroughly enjoyable time on Saturday afternoon - every one of the seven bitters I drank was first class, with an especial mention for the outstanding Westerham Brewery's Summer Perle - a much more suitable hot weather drink than Eurofizz lager.

The atmosphere in the clubhouse bar for watching the Lions stuff the Bok on TV was exceptional, and even the well-nourished family sitting on high bar stools right at the front failed to obscure the view and dampen the enjoyment.

Next year and every year, please, and let's hope the weather is as fine.