Did you know that Bury is one of the smallest Unitary Councils in England? It probably explains why the town seems to be thriving - at least as far as new building is concerned. But enough on this.
The official beer of Bury Beer Festival, as voted by the punters, was Dunham Massey Chocolate Cherry Mild.An interesting choice really, with its very strong cherry and almond flavours, but good in that it shows that the drinking public are unafraid of challenging tastes. It has an impressive track record of winning festival awards, so well done again.
What else was good? Brew Dog's Punk IPA was impressive, as was the Coffee Stout, particularly as you couldn't really taste much by way of coffee. Good call that I'd say. Phoenix were as usual superb, sold out pretty rapidly and the new Simco showed much promise with its perfumy bitterness. The strong and bitterOutstanding Stout and the lemony Pilsner were terrific, though Standing Out didn't work for me. Leeds Brewery's beers sold well and were popular, though I thought them well made rather than exciting. Grindleton's beers were up there with the best of them, the pale Ribble Rouser proving particularly popular. To sum up the rest of the good, beers from Marble, Dark Star, George Wright and Wentworth didn't disappoint and the Thornbridge Wild Swan packed a lot of flavour in for a 3.5% beer. It was a bit expensive though, but then they do have a lot of brewers to pay!
The not so good? The usually dependable Millstone seemed dull and underwhelming. Pennine didn't shine either, Little Valley were forgettable, Hopstar a work in progress with Greenmill the same. The three F's, Facers, Foxfield and Fyfe all could have done better, with the usually dependable Facers not producing the bitterness we usually expect. And we had Boggart. They supplied a lot of the beers which was good. I didn't care much for their own beers though, but some signs of improvement can just about be detected.
Any beers I didn't mention were so-so or forgettable. Only my opinion of course, but we sold the lot more or less, except the Sheffield Seven Hills in its bright yellow cask. It remained stubbornly cloudy throughout and will go back for a credit.
We signed up 23 new CAMRA members too. Well done!!
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. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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