Monday, 12 April 2010

London Drinker Beer & Cider Festival

Camden Centre
Bidborough Street

Having learnt my lesson from a previous beer festival, when I showed up on the fifth and final day and found many beers already gone, we headed to the London Drinker on the opening night - and found some ales were "not yet ready" for drinking. Oh well. The venue, near Kings Cross, was huge, and packed with ale lovers (check out the view from the balcony, above left). Here follow some highlights, featuring the proper programme notes plus our team's amateurish observations:

Crouch Vale Amarillo (5%): Golden ale using American Amarillo hops.
"Amazingly fruity."

Dark Star Espresso (4.2%): Real coffee in this stout, judged world's best specialty beer.
"Coffee notes, not too rich."

Dark Star Dennis Hopper
(4.2%): Festival special - a blend of Hophead and Golden Gate.
"Hops without malt."

Dark Star American Pale Ale
(4.7%): Light hoppy beer.
"Orange citrus overtones."

Isle of Purbeck IPA
(4.8%): A traditional IPA.
"Caramel, amber, bit of sparkle, lots of head-nodding all round."

Redemption Urban Dusk
(4.6%): Fairly dark, malty beer.
"Chocolate but balanced" (full review here).

St Austell Proper Job IPA
(4.5%): Aromatic hops leading to bittersweet finish.
"Golden smooth, no finish, doesn't taste as strong as 4.5%."

Thornbridge Wild Swan (3.5%): Pale gold bitter, with a citrussy taste and bitter finish.

Tipples Topper (4.5%) (pictured top): Roasty stout, with coffee and chocolate flavours.
"Coffee flavour, not too sweet, smoky, liquorice, leather."

Wentworth Bumble Bitter (4.4%): Best bitter with added honey.
"Golden, sweet finish."

And, finally, a bit of pear...

Newton Court Medium Sweet Perry
(6%) (pictured below left):

"Too sweet for me, slightly carbonated, less tart than apple cider."

Top beer of the night? For me, it was the Tipples Topper, a fine Norfolk stout with a moreish combination of striking flavours (see above). It was so good I even found myself reconsidering my recently acquired, and perhaps insufficiently developed, theory that "challenging" beers aren't worth the hassle.

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