We wandered over to the STEAM (the rail museum) for the annual Swindon Beer Festival and had a great afternoon. We started with some perry. Jackie got a Two Trees which was delicate and sported an almond finish while remaining true to the pear taste and I got a Circle Cider Roundabout which was quite a bit drier but also had a really lovely finish albeit more enolic. Later, she had a Red Leg (Mates Cider) but found it uninspired and went back to the Two Trees perry for a few rounds while I eventually tried Gwatkin’s Silly Ewe which was an almost orange/brown colour and tasted like bubblegum on the tongue but followed through with some nut and malic acid derived aromaticity that made me return for a second try only to find the staff wringing the polypin dry for the last lucky sod.
By far, our favourite of the fruit based drinks was the Mango Cider from Lilley’s (write them about this, it isn’t on their main web pages). We each had a couple of this spectacular brew and I’m buying a 20 pint poly for our Christmas holidays. The aroma is just like having a mango cut open before your nose and the flavour is spot on with the fruit while there is an oak and walnut aftertaste interleaved with other follow-up flavours I am not qualified to identify but want to experience again and again. It is very sweet but enough of the B vitamins from the fruit remain that the insulin spike is minimal. Absolutely spectacular.
I had a few beers between the perries and ciders, sticking mostly to the dark coffee and chocolate tinged milds and porters. The Pewsey Mild (from the World’s End Brewery in the Crown Inn, Pewsey) had a strong, bitter, and almost offensive nose but the flavours were complex and pleasing. While we stood around listening to the band Jackie refilled her perries eventually finding the Mango treat and I explored a Kick in the Shed (Shed Ales), a Double Standard Porter (Nine Standards), a Black Country Mild (Holdens), a Polar Paw (Black Paw), and a couple of lighter ales none of which I made notes on and all of which I hope to meet again.
Speaking of hope to meet again, it was a good crowd and a bit more diverse than at some fests we’ve attended. See you all next year.