The Taste Cumbria beer festival is held annually at the maltings in Jennings Brewery, Cockermouth and its a smashing little beer festival. There's not hundreds of beers, but it showcases Cumbrian beer in a small venue without any fussiness or pretentiousness.
Tractor Shed had brewed a collaboration beer with Jennings - or rather the Head Brewers had got their heads together - and come up with a black India pale lager called Yin Yan' brewed specially for the festival. It was available from a cask, keg or a can. Due to commitments I only made it down on the Sunday afternoon, when much of the beer had sold out - but there was still plenty of choice.
The Yin Yan' was more substantial and you could taste the really dark roasted malts more than a black lager, but it had a good hop punch too. I've looked up since what hops were used and one of the most curious called Sorachi Ace was used. This explains the otherworldy hop character that's neither an American citrus or pine flavour nor an earthy or herbal European flavour and I do like it. I tried it on cask and on keg and I preferred the keg as the beer was more clean tasting to allow the hops to show through.
Another beer to stand out was Brownian Motion from Hardknott, which advertised itself as a salted, smoked dark beer. It was gently smokey and subtle with the salt so it didn't get in the way of this being a proper dark porter. Not too sweet, but enough malt body to make you drink it steadily. A really interesting beer.
Tractor Shed's Heifer Hefe is an old favourite and didn't disappoint again with its stereotypically Bavarian banana & bubblegum wackiness. Very refreshing.
The Keswick Thirst Quench had a lovely floral hop aroma that came through in the beer too. Very sinkable.
I had a good chat with the Tractor Shed brewery team behind the bar and a pub quiz started just as I was thinking of leaving, so I stayed for a while longer and won some beer, hats, brewery tour vouchers and a pint glass!