This was only the 5th Cambridge CAMRA Octoberfest apparently, but it already feels like a fixture in Cambridge’s beer calendar and it was getting packed early on the opening night.
There was draft beer from the Big Six Munich breweries. I started with the Augustiner Oktoberfestbier 6.1%, quite sweet tasting with an oily texture, and although I prefer real ales it was the most refreshing beer I had on the opening evening, nicely chilled making the ales that followed seem a bit on the warm side. Nevertheless, the session strength Buntingford Engine was the most quaffable of the ales, a 3.9% ‘Copper coloured malty beer, slightly sweet, low on hops… used a tweaked mash process to brew it’ according to the brewer. I tried Hopshackle Resination, a highlight of previous beer fests, but again it seemed a bit warm and not quite as satisfying as I remember. Son of Sid Back to Black is a decent 5.3% porter though, from the brewers of the cracking Muckcart Mild, based about 15 miles west of Cambridge.
By this point the place was heaving – maybe the Octoberfest is already outgrowing this venue? It would be nice to have more seating and more room to move, but then again it’s near the centre of town and hot food is available at the downstairs bar (importantly, chips).
Saturday afternoon was a more relaxed affair, less crowded and I enjoyed the beers more, particularly the Hopshackle Smoked Porter and the Andechs Doppelbock Dunkel 7.1%, one of the best German Beers I’ve tried.