“Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy”, said Benjamin Franklin (arguably) way back when and if you needed any more proof that it’s true, that was at the Hoole Beer festival this weekend. Sure, I ended up with the mother of all hangovers and sore feet due to too much dancing but it was totally worth it.
First things first; the Hoole Community Centre is a fantastic place to throw a beer festival in. I remember a few years back the now late Kash Taprooms hosted a burger-off competition and a German mini fest there and I thought it was such a great venue for beer related shenanigans then already. The fact I was judging for the best free-style burger in town had nothing to do with it. I promise.
Anyway. The burger-off was a blast but the beer festival took it on in a magnificent way. First, there was much more beer. Second, the festival took over the whole damn place with all kinds of shenanigans. And they threw in a few beer tasting classes for good measure. So yeah, this was a beer fest with some balls.
I spied with my little eye around 50 cask and keg beers and ciders and then there was the small matter of the gins, wines and prosecco, which happen to be all my favourite things right after beer.
But I digress. I was there for the beer. Here’s what we had:
Smashing mint comes forward first, then the gentle hops. This bad boy is a subtle sour, probably good for those wanting to explore the style but I really liked it because it’s not too sweet. Dry sours are my favourite and this one does not disappoint. A total babe of a beer.
If I told you a beer with lychee, pineapple and passionfruit was not at all sweet but actually really well balanced with lovely bitter hops, would you believe me? Well, you should. I’ve never had a beer from Salopian that I didn’t like and this one is no exception.
Throw some six different malts at a beer and balance it with some juicy hops and this is what you get. Smooth as anything, chocolatey and biscuity, this dark delight is scrumptious and lovely, perfect for when the nights get darker.
Hardknott – Rheged Fell 4.50%
Traditional but inspiring. Proof that every beer doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel to be outstanding. It’s a well-crafted IPA, beautifully balanced with just the right amount of hops. Sometimes the oldies but goldies really are the best.
A generous hit of hops and juicy tangerine and citrus fruits dominate this super sessionable beer. It’s got a low enough ABV to be an all-nighter but it’s tasty enough to not get boring. Apparently it’s won a bunch of awards and who am I to argue with my beery peers! Top choice, from me.
Cloudwater – DDH Ella Ekuanot Pale Ale 5.50%
What a lively beer this one was! Juicy and well balanced. Tropical fruits and sweet malts and floral bitterness all works together really well. It’s like a party in my mouth. It’s another classic from a brewery that I think I’m a little bit in love with.
I probably don’t need to point out how well watered I was throughout the festival. Hubby and I also attended a beer tasting session with Martin Hilton from PureCraft, where a few other beers were had so you’ll all have to excuse me if everything became a little hazy as the night progressed.
But, guys. I would never forgive myself if I didn’t swoon all over Dim Sum Su. Basically, they make these amazing bite-sized steamed buns and fill them with awesome Cantonese and Chinese flavours, and if you see them and their street food kitchen at any shindig ever do yourself a favour and go there immediately. They sell out fast and it’s because their food is just so super tasty. Hubby and I had the belly pork and it was just to die for.
And as for my sore feet? Well, no self-respecting festival ever goes on without some live music and it’s a well-known fact that music sounds always better after a few beers. And if there’s a tune after a tune on one simply has no other option but to boogie until one can’t feel their feet anymore. Which is exactly what I did.
I had a good time – and from what I hear so did everyone else. Next year (I am going out on a limb here and assume there will be a “next year”) I hope they’ll have equally quirky beer on, but perhaps a few more darker ones thrown in for good measure. Hubby and I are fiends for porters and stouts so selfishly we’re always rooting every beer festival to have more of them.
Did you go to Hoole Beer Festival? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.