I was invited (along with all of our CAMRA Branch members) to the launch of JDW's Spring Beer Festival at the Art Picture House, one of two in Bury. JDWs that is, not Art Picture Houses. Now this proved to be a good day out, though involving as it did that drinking leg end Tyson, it lasted a lot longer and was more intense than I intended.
In addition to the beers on the bar, we had the bonus of "Meet the Brewer" thrice. Hawkshead, Naylors and Titanic all showed up and to the delight of the assembled throng, dished out copious free third pint samples. This greatly pleased Archimedes and Pythagoras, but the Whitefield Holts Bandit disdainfully eschewed the freebies, while Pineapple Pete, as usual, concentrated on the free grub. Tyson and I, veterans of such largesse and aware of the Bury public's propensity for free ale, had no such scruples and just elbowed the coffin dodgers aside to park ourselves in front of the nine of Windermere Pale (Tyson) and Titanic Plum Porter (me). I did have a constructive chat with the Titanic operative, who advised that the plum essence was made by a local sweet manufacturer after using real plums failed to deliver any plum flavour at all. Nature isn't always best it seems.
Now free beer to such men of the world as Tyson and me has limited appeal. There is a great big world of beer out there - even in Bury - and thus it was that I found myself drinking a half of keg Outstanding White, which could best be described as a curious crossover between a German Weisse Bier and a Belgian White. Odd, but pleasant. The Robert Peel, JDW's other Bury outfit failed to deliver on choice and Hydes Owd Oak mild made you think a new brewery can't come soon enough. Tyson suggested the long trek next door to the Two Tubs. He was gutted to find no Triple C in this Thwaites house, but we settled for the hugely chocolatey Egg Roller, an Easter beer - and what a great beer it was too. More chocolate than a Belgian airport duty free shop, a luscious body and while at first it seemed one would be enough, it wasn't. (As an aside can you imagine how miserable this beer would seem without a sparkler?)
So back to the Art where handpumped Titanic Plum Porter finished us off. Literally. We did have the bonus of seeing Joe Stalin and of course, Don Ricardo who had joined the mayhem earlier. I dashed for the 163 and the long toilet-less trek home, while Tyson remained to observe the ever keen Don in pursuit (unwisely in this case I can assure you) of the carnal.
Our thanks to JDW's Lisa for the butties and the sausages and to the brewers for their free beer.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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