39th Cambridge Beer Festival

The 39th Cambridge Beer Festival was the biggest yet with over forty-one thousand visitors. It was probably the hottest and sunniest too, an absolute smasher.

Magic Rock Rapture

Brentwood BBC2 was voted Beer of the Festival, especially impressive for a beer of only 2.5% ABV, packing an orangey citrus punch well above its weight. It proved to be the perfect drink for long days in the sun and at only £2.20 a pint, nice they passed on to the customer the savings from lower rates of beer duty.

Liverpool Organic Kitty Wilkinson took second place, a sweet stout with plenty of chocolatey goodness and a pleasingly subtle use of vanilla.

The beers I most enjoyed were:

Blackbar Märzen – A preview of the beer brewed for the Octoberfest later this year and already tasting wonderful – full bodied and golden with a caramel sweetness, an intriguing beer from a brewery that only began this year.

Ole Slewfoot Citraville IPA – Earlier in the week this beer hadn’t particularly stood out, but come Saturday and from another cask, it really came into its own – a mouthful of fresh grapefruit and lemon flavours that slipped down easily – couldn’t serve this beer quick enough to thirsty drinkers.

Stringers Hop Priest – Enjoyed at the Ely Beer Fest earlier this year, it took a few days to come on but was worth the wait – a powerfully hoppy brew, hazy and resinous, that drew me back to the bar several times.

Hop Priest

I tried Stringers Mutiny, a rich double stout, and for a moment it was December in front of a log fire, snow outside – but it was 30 degrees in the marquee so I think I’ll have to come back to it in the winter to really appreciate it. I was happier with something hoppier – golden, hoppy beers like Dancing Duck Abduction and Whim Flower Power were well suited to the sunny weather.

By the weekend there was a fresh supply of beer from Great Oakley, Humpty Dumpty, Nethergate, Old Cannon, White Horse and more from Milton whose Karolides was the sweetest thing this side of the mead bar, a wonderful beer.

And then there was the cheese…

Hereford Hop

Days before the festival opened, I’d helped out with the setting up…

Setting up

The message on this cask really brought a smile to my face:

Felstar

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