I knew the last few days would be busy. The twissup started in Manchester and clashed with not only the National Winter Ales Festival organising meeting, but a family birthday celebration. I'm no good at this sort of decision making, which always ends up with me pleasing no one, least of all me. So I went off to the twissup and played the rest by ear. I don't think I hit exactly the right note with everyone else who slipped a little down my ad hoc list of priorities, but at least subsequent ear bashings were softened by good beer and memories of a great time.
There was a lot of people there, some of whom I even knew! Baron Orm, who I hadn't met up to that point, had the wise idea of decorating his chosen few with badges based on their avatar. I wasn't one of this elite, but it was an inspired idea and on a wider basis, one that should be adopted for the next time. I did though miss out on meeting so many people, a lot of whom I didn't know and couldn't identify, while talking to others, but I did make some new friends. The beer was universally good and it was gratifying to see our cousins from the south lapping up the sparkled beer and being able to see for themselves that it isn't sparkling that makes for flat beer, but poor care. Though Zak Avery did bring a very fancy Italian bottle for sharing that provided a justifiably interesting talking point, it was the chance to talk more generally about beer with others that appealed most. I will brush over the fact that I was the oldest there, but seeing "young" people enthusing about beer was gratifying. It was even better to see them off their arses and in the pub, but I wasn't that sorry to miss out on Huddersfield though, purely on the grounds that I might not have survived it. While age may have its compensations and youth is no doubt wasted on the young, they do have an ability to keep going that left me long ago. I have compensated by reading the excellent reports of others on the Huddersfield leg of the game.
I haven't mentioned Lees Fools Gold have I? No? I thought not. It is very pale and very bitter and that makes a nice change for Lees beer. I enjoyed my Sunday pints of it. I guess some (late boil) new world hops to give it a more nuanced tropical or herbal hoppiness to balance the uncompromising bitterness wouldn't have been a bad idea, but well done nonetheless and more and different hops please in subsequent beers.
And of course there is theSIBA do which is taking up most of my time at the moment. It is all ready more or less. I have vented and tapped like a good 'un. SIBA Technical has installed 56 brand new Angrams (quarter pint pull) and miles of pythons and associated gear. Today we'll see if the beer is all fit to serve and be judged. I do hope to see some of you there.
The photo shows some of the 283 casks for the SIBA festival
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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