National Winter Ales Festival 2011

Submitted by DM on Sat, 22/01/2011 - 22:01
Type of review
beer festival

There has been a lack of activity on this site for a few weeks mainly due to me moving house & now having a dependent that means I have limited opportunities to go out. However, I managed to escape to Manchester for 2hours & 45mins to sample some beers.

The new venue isn't that hard to get to from Piccadilly in the daytime as the buses seem to run every few minutes & its only a 10 minute journey out of town. Andy, Grace, Nik & myself got there as it opened & a table was acquired. I got a Fyne Maverick & in a slight faux par, Nik got the same. It was his 1st time at NWAF & he got some fine chewing beer later to make me almost forget this. Whilst we drank these, we read the festival program.

Of course, I had a list of beers to try already. Knowing time was short I knocked off all the beers that are suspect (the usual names) & the beers I can readily get hold of were taken out too - I love Hawkshead Lakeland Gold but I can drink it elsewhere. One day I'll have time again...

Beers I wanted to try;
Beckstones, Haematite - sold out
Darwin, Ghost Ale - hoppy & malty sweet.
Fyne, Highlander - orange blossom & zesty with a rounded malt body. Just lovely.
Fyne, Maverick - light, hoppy, dryish & fruity.
Hopstar, Smokey Joes Black Beer - creme caramel (thanks Grace) & tiramisu. Beer of the festival for me & definitely a QI beer. Won silver in the Stout & Porter category.
Liverpool One, Mersey Mist - sold out
Liverpool One, Liverpool Light - very pale, hoppy light beer, dryish & clean tasting.
Liverpool Organic Brewery, Stout - didn't get time to try
Milk Street, Amarillo - stereotypically grapefruit zesty with a good body. Really rather good.
Otley, O Garden - Phenolic tasted dominated the beer. Delicately sweet golden ale & with some Turkish Delight.
Otley, O1 - didn't get time to try
Outstanding Beers, White - didn't get time to try.
Saltaire, Blackberry Cascade - sold out. Although most of us didn't want to try a blackberry beer, the Saltaire name is enough to make us want to try it.
Thornbridge, Hark - didn't get time to try. Mostly I wanted to see what the fuss was about Thornbridge beers.
Thornbridge, Brock - didn't get time to try

Other beers I tried;
Elgood's, Thin Ice - chewy & caramel. Nik's preferred beer style is mostly chewy.
Arran, Sunset - a hoppy, light beer.
Acorn, Blonde - a hoppy, light, dryish beer.
Phoenix, Black Bee - liquorice, some good burnt flavours & sweetish
Hydes, Old Amarillo - pronounced citrus bitterness. Lovely.
Warfebank, Camfell Flame - sweetish, a little aqueous. Ordinary beer.
Grainstore, Ten Fifty - chewy malt, caramel & full bodied.
Brunswick, Triple Hop - strangeley not hoppy as expected. Like the taste of golden syrup without the cloying sweetness. Strange, nice.
Bollington, Oatmeal Stout - stereotypical oat stout roundness & flavour, full bodied with a medium sweetness.
Falcons Exquisite Ales, Red Merlin - acetic sour flavour makes any other descriptors redundant.
Grafters, Wobble Gob - chewy beer.

Another great beer festival & a little more room to turn around in this year too. The £5 for all you can fit on a plate food stand was good also - not too fancy, plenty of it, stodgy & just right for a beer festival.