It's very unusual for me these days but this morning I am feeling somewhat hung over. For last night I had to taste around twenty different beers. All in the name of science you understand! At the SIBA South East Beer Festival there were actually around 150 real ales and ciders, from more than fifty breweries, to choose from. So you could even argue that I was a little reserved in only trying twenty! The event is still going on as I write so there's still time for you ale fans out there to get round to the rugby club on The Slade. Leave the car at home because you will be tempted to try out lots of different beers and some are wickedly moreish and a bit on the strong side. Last night there were at least a couple of hundred people (mostly men it has to be said) in and spilling out of a large marquee about fifty yards long and lined with barrels, three deep. The organisation of this festival seems to get better every year. One of the Tonbridge Juddians, who run the bar, advised that I only try about six tasters before deciding which one to commit to and supp. I'm afraid that I didn't take heed of this advice but elected instead to try as many as I fancied before eventually saying enough! These were my faves:
Top of the list has to be Flack Manor Brewery's Flack Catcher which is described in the blurb as golden ale, honey citrus aroma, zesty marmalade taste. That about sums it up for you did get a tang of all of those flavours. Absolute nectar I'd say.
Others were Hedge Hop by Flack Manor again, Plateau by Burning Sky Brewery; Thirty Three by Brighton Bier; N7 and N1 were proving very popular from Hammerton Brewery. So much so that the N1 ran out. Hopdaemon always manage to impress and this year I enjoyed a taste of Golden Braid and Incubus. Our very own Tonbridge Brewery again pulled off a beaut with Union Pale, somewhat stronger than the ones I usually favour but this was really lovely in all its golden, grapefruity, biscuitiness.
I love some of the cheeky and macho names of these ales like Hopspur, Naked Ladies and Iron Duke but was surprised to see that there aren't many real rugger bugger type ones. So I've suggested a few of my own. I've already applied for the trade marks so no copy cats please!
Sweet Chariot should be one for definite; then there could be Zulu Warrior and of course the stronger version Zulu Chief and then the most potent of all Carry Me Home!...