The Friday Pint 3 #7 – Maltings Fest!

Last weekend, the annual Maltings Festival took place in Newton Abbot. I was there for three of the four sessions. What follows is the unedited text written during the Friday afternoon session…


As I sit here, writing this introduction to the blog post you are now reading, it is just approaching ten minutes past eleven, on Friday the 25th April. The second session of the Maltings Beer Festival in Newton Abbot is underway, and beside me I have two half pint glasses, filled with beers from the Quantock Brewery.

Quantock’s Wills Neck is the beer that recieved the honour of winning overall first prize in the SIBA southwest region competition, which was judged on the Thursday afternoon. As it sold out last night, whilst I was enjoying the beers from Rebel, Art Brew and Bristol Beer Factory, I have to try their beers without trying that.

The Nightjar, which came 3rd in the bitter category, seems like an okay, inoffensive bitter. To me there’s no wow factor, but it’s not undrinkable either. It’s a beer that sits in that vast middle category of existing. It’s a category that contains the beers that I’ll often know I’ve tried, but have no memory of what it’s like.  In comparison, White Hind seems much more like the sort of bitter I enjoy.. There’s a nice caramel note and sweetness that’s complemented well by  the bitterness. It’s unlikely I’ll be going back for more tomorrow, but over a session in a pub, I wouldn’t object to drinking a few.

The last Quantock beer for this session is named Ginger Cockney. It does have a ginger taste to it, though unlike other ginger beers I’ve tried, that taste fades all too quickly, leaving no hint or clue that you’ve just sipped a beer with ginger in it at all. In many ways, this can be seen as a good thing. The Ginger Beer that Brodies made a few years ago was nice, but the ginger was so strong that the beers that followed it were marred by the lingering gingerness.

(As an aside, “The Lingering Gingerness” seems like a good nickname for someone, if only I knew someone with ginger hair who stuck around a bit too long. )

The next brewery for today is the one that has had the least distance to travel, with their beers being brewed on the same site, thus making it perfect for this year’s Friday Pint focus of local beers. Teignworthy Brewery have four beers here today, Reel Ale, Amys Ale, Pippa’s Pint and Imperial Russian Porter, which came 1st in the Premium Strong Beer category.

For those wondering what the time is, it’s just gone ten to twelve. If you’re wondering what the time is where you are right now, I’m afraid I can’t help you with that. Do you not have a clock or watch you can look at? The device you’re using to read this should have the time on, unless someone has printed this out for you, or you have printed it out for yourself, and you are reading it elsewhere.  If you’re reading this in the far future, do they still have printers where you are? Have you cured cancer yet, or are you busy spending your money on developing time travel?

Back to beer, and cheese. Friday is market day in Newton Abbot, and so earlier I bought two pieces of cheese to consume alongside the many beers I’ll be drinking today. What were those cheeses you are probably thinking right now. I can’t remember their names, I would reply to you, but one, the one I am nibbling on right now, is made with ale and mustard.  I’m not a fan if I’m honest. I’ve had much nicer ale based cheeses, and much nicer mustard based ones.

As for the beer, I’ve kicked off the Teignworthys with Reel Ale. Either my nasal receptors have gone or it smells of nothing. The taste isn’t much either. It’s not an awful, undrinkable beer, but it doesn’t really inspire a string of poetic adjectives either.

It’s the turn of the two girls next, Pippa and Amy. Visually, they both look alike (Is there such a thing as a beer equivilent of racism?). Aromawise, they’re both very similar to the Reel Ale. (This isn’t boding well. I don’t mind beers of this style, but I’ve already had a number of bitters today, thankfully, I have the imperial russian stout to come next.).  Tastewise, my receptors are giving off a resounding “meh”. There are differences between the two, but after a string of bitters, be it in best, standard or premium form, I’m ready for something else now.

Whilst I  drink these two beers, I shall give you a description of what’s going on around me. I am in the tent outside, sat down at a table. I am one of those who got here early enough to claim a chair and table. Across from me are a couple who have travelled up from Plymouth. On the table next to us, a group of men, ranging from late 20s/early 30s to late 30s/early 40s have come prepared, with bread, fruit, pies, and crisps adoring the table. A constant flow of people ebb in and out of the tent, returning with beer or sometimes food from one of the two vans adjacent to the tent. A loud mumur fills the tent. Occasionally a laugh is heard. It’s difficult to focus in on one of the many conversations happening simultaneously. As I approach my third hour of my second session, I start to ponder what my third brewery of focus will be. Arbor and Moor are on the hitlist, then there’s Tavy, who’s Porter came 1st in it’s categpory, and 2nd overall.

After “finishing” the bitters, I’ve now moved on the the Imperial Russian Porter. A beer much more to my taste, and one that I’ve decided to accompany with some chocolate drops from Merry Berry Chocolates. The Ecuador and Costa Rica go rather well with a dark 10.5% beer. The beer is my favourite of the day so far. This is probably unsurprising, given that imperial stouts and porters are one of my favourite styles of beer.

Where I am, right now at the time of writing, it’s approaching 13:30. Outside the tent a number of grey clouds are gathering over the festival, and a group of Morris Dancers are Morris Dancing, with crowds of people inexplicably watching them. On the table beside me now is a half of Tavy Best Bitter, and a half of Tavy Ideal Pale Ale. The best doesn’t seem too bad,. At the very least it’s not making me think “oh god, not another best bitter”. The Ideal Pale Ale seems like a nice beer, though the choice of hops clearly aren’t to my liking. It certainly makes a nice change to a run of bitters though. Outside it has started raining. The soft sotherners are all moving inside the tent, making it much more crowded. On the plus side, it will have stopped the morris dancers. It has certainly got a lot darker than it was when I arrived.

Having just stepped outside, I’m going to say it’s actually not that bad. Sure, it is raining, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it sounds. If the rain has done anything, it’s made the festival seem much more busier than it actually is. That murmur that was referred to earlier is somewhat louder. I now sit here drinking a mix of “proper” lemonade and sparkling water. An arguably much needed and required break following the nine beers I’ve just had. I have the porter left to try from Tavy Ales, and then, I think one more brewery before I call it a day at the festival and head towards the Teign Cellars.

Back to now (14:30 for those keeping record), and it’s the turn of Tavy Porter. A rather delightful beer that has provoked the return of the chocolate buttons purchased earlier. Chocolate and stout/porter go well together. Deliciously well. I will say that I’ve enjoyed the dark beers much more than I have the bitters today.

Brewery number seven of the weekend is Moor Beer, and I’ve started with the rather lovely Nor’hop. A beer in the Best category that I’m tempted to go back to. It’s tropical and fruity, but it’s not overtly strong in  flavour or bitterness. Something I found I wasn’t really enjoying last night. If anything, it’s nice to be drinking a pale bitter beer that I don’t feel like disposing of into the grass beside me, as I have done with a couple of the beers mentioned earlier within this post.

Outside it has stopped raining, and things certainly seem a lot brighter now.A number of people have returned to the outside world, making the tent and the maltings much easier to move around in. I’m finishing this session with Moor Beer’s Dark Alliance. A beer that appropriately has coffee in the description, as it also does in the taste. As I’m not a fan of coffee, it is much more likely that I’ll come across a beer like this that I won’t particuarly enjoy than it is one that I will. This is a beer that falls into the former category. For people who do enjoy coffee, I can see this being a beer that they would enjoy, but for a non coffee lover like me, it’s a poor end to a session full of average beers.

As for now I’m going to walk up to the Teign Cellars and load my bag with cheap (compared to Bitter Virtue) Wild Beer Ninkasi and other such beer. I’ll be back here tomorrow, to finish off the Moor and drink whatever else takes my fancy.


So that was Friday. I didn’t end up buying the Ninkasi (I have since mail ordered it though, along with some others).

A few points to note surrounding upcoming events. The Rockstone’s Cider Festival, which was scheduled to be held last weekend is now scheduled to be held at the end of May (30th May – 1st June).

This weekend in Southampton sees the South Western Arms (right next to St Denys station, and about a 10-15 minute walk to/from The Butchers Hook) hold their May Bank Holiday Beer Festival, from Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th May.

That’s your lot for this week. Please return in the future, at some point, even if it’s just as a brain transported into a spiderlike robot. I’d prefer it if it were sooner though.

Thank you for reading.


The Wool House – Southampton’s Soon-to-be Latest Pub!

Southampton is getting a new pub!

As posted on the Platform Tavern’s Facebook page approximately two hours ago, a panel of six councilors voted unamiously in favour of Dancing Man Brewery’s plans for The Wool House building.

They hope to open doors at some point in July. I’m hoping that it doesn’t clash with the Birmingham Beer Bash. If it does I’ll be making my way down at the first opportunity.

Today is a good day for the people of Southampton.


The Friday Pint 3 #6 – Festivals Galore

A bit of a different approach to The Friday Pint this week, with me using it to promote a few events happening this weekend, next weekend, and in the future.

Firstly, Happy Easter everybody. As it’s a bank holiday weekend in the UK, there’s a good chance there’s a beer festival of some size somewhere near you (if you’re reading in the UK).  I’m working this weekend, so won’t be able to get to any of them, but here’s what I’d consider if I wasn’t…

The Brodies Bunny Basher festival is worth a visit if you’re in or near (or willing to travel to) the Leytonstone end of London. Chances are this is where a number of the countries beer geeks will be this weekend, so like previous years, it will get busy.

If I’m honest, making the trek to East London from Slough doesn’t really appeal to me, as much as the chance to savour a glass of Elizabethan does, I don’t think I could be bothered with navigating tube trains and buses on an Easter weekend.

The Platform Tavern Easter Cider and Blues Festival, and The Rockstone Easter Beer Festival in Southampton would involve a just as long (timewise) journey, and would probably be enjoyed by myself much more.

Next weekend The Rockstone have a Cider festival of their own, which is possibly where I’ll end up on the Sunday, after spending the previous three days at the Maltings Beer Festival in Newton Abbot.

Last year was the first time I went to the festival, and I was won over by the quality and condition of the beer available (perhaps a result of the festival being SIBA’s South West beer competition). This year I have yet again booked the whole weekend down there, and plan on following a similar approach to last year, where I worked my way through breweries.

As for my tip for the overall competition winner, I’d bet on Rebel Brewery’s Mexi-Cocoa if there was a book running on it.

As for the future, it’s about time I mentioned this year’s Birmingham Beer Bash on here. Tickets for individual sessions are now available here.

Whilst I’m part of the organizing team, I’m not part of the much smaller part of that team in charge of organizing and revealing the exciting line up of beers, food and fringe events that we have this year. There’s some returning favourites from last year, including Wild Beer, Siren, Thornbridge and Magic Rock, alongside some breweries making their beer bash debut. The full list of breweries can be found here.

In terms of food, the only announcement so far has been that of The Original Patty Men. Last year they sold out within the first hour of each session they were serving at, and with good reason. Their burgers were very, very nice. I’m certainly looking forward to getting to have another this year.

As well as great beer and food, the Bash also has some great fringe events lined up, information about which will be revealed via the festival’s social media feeds on Facebook and Twitter.

I’ll be doing a similar preview to the Bash as I did last year closer to the event. As for now, I’m going to try and keep myself awake. Until the next time reader…


Black and Tan Experiments # something, I’ve absolutely no idea and can’t really be bothered to go back and find out

It’s been a while since I last did one of these. I think this may be number 19 or 20, or even 21. In the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter. Unless one of you is keeping score out there, in which case this is the first post of series two, which is actually series one from a new production crew, for budget reasons and such.

I could waffle on for ages, but lets get down to business. Last week, whilst we were at The Platform Tavern, conversation led to Sadler’s Ales Mud City Stout and Bristol Beer Factory’s Southville Hop. Both of them are awesome beers which I absolutely love individually. I can’t remember how they came to be referenced individually, or which one came first, but it wasn’t long before the idea of mixing the two came about.

I have to say that the balance I had as I started writing this post (about half and half), is good, but it isn’t really better than the individual parts. Moving the balance towards the stout end doesn’t really work either, nor does switching the bias towards the Southville Hop.

Some would say that the lesson to be learned here is just because you can try to mix and blend beers doesn’t mean you should. However, if you don’t at least try first, it’s very difficult to know what works and what doesn’t. Mud City Stout and Southville Hop don’t work.

They’re still awesome beers on their own though. I encourage you to track them down and try them. Seriously.



The Friday Pint 3 #5 – Happy Birthday To Me

So, here I am again. To clarify for those who read the post earlier in the week without realising what day it was, it was an April Fool. I am very much still drinking beer, as I’m doing right now (Bingham’s Vanilla Stout), and the last couple of days.

As you might have guessed, or assumed from the title of this post, it’s my birthday this week, today in fact. Unfortunately I have work tomorrow (and don’t want to use holiday I’ll want to use later in the year), and so I’m not able to go out drinking with those I’d normally go drinking with, which is why all of that happened yesterday.

Granted, for the most part of the day, it was just me, progressing through Southampton on a somewhat unintended pub crawl, taking in The Rockstone, The Junction, The South Western Arms, The Butchers Hook, and finally The Platform Tavern. They may be rather spread out, but Southampton actually does have some good pubs in and around it.

The highlights of yesterday’s little adventure were the last two stops. The Butchers Hook was, bar the one customer already in, empty. As a result I was able to take a seat and look around. The ceiling is “tiled” with old (and I mean old, many of them look much older than me) beer mats. It’s the sort of place where you could probably noticed something new each time you go in.

The only real problem I have with The Butchers Hook is that it’s somewhat of a trek for me to visit. It’s a trek that I’ll be making when I can, but it won’t be anywhere near as often as it would be if I lived closer to it. For those wondering, the beer I drank whilst there was Burning Sky’s Aurora. I enjoyed it, but wasn’t bowled over by it. I have seen others say good things about it though, so it’s probably best you try it yourself and make up your own mind.

The final stop, and my favourite, for many reasons, was The Platform Tavern. It was here that I was joined by my good friend Chris. Over the course of our session here, we enjoyed Pilgrim’s Pale Ale on draught, followed by 16 Tonne Stout and Pole Axed in bottle.

Long time readers of this blog may recall me raving about Pole Axed in the past. It’s one of only two Citra hopped beers (the other being a Kernel IPA) that I’ve really enjoyed. Every other Citra hopped beer (that I can remember) has made me feel that the hop is rather overrated. The bottle I had last night rekindled my love affair with the beer, to the point where I’ll be buying several bottles of the stuff when it goes on sale in Bitter Virtue.

I could easily rave about Pole Axed all night, however there are two other beers that need some time. Pilgrim’s Pale Ale tasted the best I’ve had it, possibly ever. It’s not really a beer that gets me excited, but it is a beer that I enjoy that can be drunk as a session beer, something which can’t really be said for Pole Axed. The 16 Tonne Stout (a chilli chocolate stout) also tasted good. The balance was, for me, much more enjoyable that the last time I had it on draught, when the chilli was a bit too strong.

To finish the evening (and this post), the first bottle of Jelly Baby Massacre 2 was opened. In my opinion it is a tad on the sweet side. I definitely over compensated when I was adding jelly babies to the boil. It’s still an enjoyable beer, and thinking about it, would probably make a good basis for an ice cream float.

As for now, I’m still drinking that Bingham’s Vanilla Stout. It’s somewhat disapointing in comparison to Bingham’s regular stout, which I rather enjoyed. It doesn’t really taste of vanilla, not even a hint. Once I finish this it’s a choice of Mud City Stout or Southville Hop. Alternatively, I save those for a mixing experiment and enjoy the Bourbon County I have on the shelf.

It is my birthday after all…


An announcement

Since starting my beery journey I’ve had some great and memorable moments. I’ve made some great friends, tried some great beers, and visited places I wouldn’t have done otherwise because of beer.

The problem is though I’ve become bored of beer. I no longer wish to talk about it, write about it, or even drink it. It is with that in mind that I have considered the future of this blog. It shall remain as is, however I will be handing over the reigns of beer blogging to guest bloggers, whilst I shall be starting a voyage of discovery down the road of non beeryness.

I hope that you will continue to read this blog, and I thank you for the time you have given it in its short life so far.