Last night saw us in attendance at the London Drinker Beer & Cider festival, held in it's usual venue of the Camden Centre in King's Cross. I managed to persuade Mrs Nunhead Brewery to come along to her first festy, and she err, tolerated it with diplomatic finesse...
The beer selection was a little different to previous years, featuring quite a few I'd never seen before and a number of breweries I'd never even heard of before. That probably says more about my knowledge than anything else but it was a little unexpected. I took it upon myself to make sure I gave them a fair trial. Conspicuous by their absence were quite a few of the 'big boys', I think its good that smaller events like this give 'the little guy' a chance without being swamped by the corporate-hell that is the main entrance to the GBBF in Olympia. Quite why they appear to be the most popular stands there when there is so much other (better) stuff on offer all around beats me.
Back to TLD... I was surprised that for the first night it was only 'very busy' as opposed to 'completely rammed', but it made for a more pleasant drinking experience. Only between a third to half of the beers had been tapped - either not ready or maybe even being held back for other sessions? A visit on the third day a few years ago and most of the beer was already gone, maybe they learnt from this and try to spread the selection out over the three days.
So on to the beers. Between the four of us we covered a decent spectrum, as follows:
Abbey - Chorister
(3/5, pretty dry finish on this one but very drinkable)
Alcazar - Windjammer IPA
(3/5, wow at 6% this one packs a punch! Very complex hop flavour - 5 american hops in there. Almost a little too fussy for my taste, although it did help get around the alcohol taste. Maybe its the wrong time of year for this one - I could see myself having one (and only one!) on a winter's night to finish off the evening).
Boggart - Angel Hill
(3/5, delightful mid-pale, slightly citrussy hops with a strong bitter finish)
Caingorm - Trade Winds
(3/5, nice and fruity, could drink a lot of this one)
Dark Star - Espresso Stout
(1/5, not to my taste as a non-coffee drinker. Mrs N-B soldiered her way through a half though. Very distinctive coffee taste overiding everything. Almost more a coffee than a beer)
Farmers - Puck's Folly
(4/5, best of the night for me. Medium bitterness overladen with gorgeous pinapple aroma and slight toffee flavour. Very smooth and drinkable)
Grainstore - Steaming Billy Billy's Last Bark
(3/5, bonkers name, nice beer)
Purple Moose - Glaslyn Ale
(3-4/5, a contender for beer of the night, this one was nicely fruity with balanced bitterness. Another one I could drink all night, no problems)
Quite a restrained evening really, and all the better for it this morning I can tell you.
Roll on Catford in June...