It was a hard day at the Swindon Beer Festival, my friends. To start, I opened the surgical wound again sometime in the night (although there seemed to be no reason to shout for help this time). With Jackie off to work, I needed only add an extra bandage and hike over to the STEAM museum and start drinking.
I was disappointed a couple of times, but that is the luck of the draw when you wait till the last day–some of the offerings are going to run dry early and there’s nothing that could be said that could change it (a note that should be mentioned to one or two whingers I heard along the way).
I stuck to dark beers until my lunch break and then planned on settling into an afternoon of perry and cider tasting but those that interested me most had already been pulled from the shelves. After two very good perries and a blackberry cider, I returned to my beer plan which was entirely black beers (stout, porter, and mild).
The original notes, unedited, follow:
Bridestone’s Chocolate Stout 4.6%: muddy like coffee sediment, good mouth
Slater’s Smoked Porter 4.8%: as described*, a bit thin on mouth but refreshing
Old Sodbury Mild 3.9%. Cotswold Spring Brewery: the fantastic bitterness of a goody powder, finish that blends into clay-like dust at the sides and back of tongue, also astringent…coffee grounds
Hammerpot Oyster Pond Stout 4.2%: because Hop Kettle’s Cocos Porter barrel was finished. Disappointing light cola stout.
Lunch break with the Hammerpot…
Sandford Orchard Pear Shaped Perry 7.5% — I was warned about this one being ‘quite dry’ but that usually mean ‘not sweet’ to me while this one was just high in alcohol. Very nice almost like a sweet to dry wine.
Mr. Whitehead’s Blackberry 4.0%: Fanny’s Bramble keg was dead, but this is still a spectacular tipple…loads of fruit albeit more like sweet grapefruit juice than blackberries (they were actually sweet this year due to the heat, so points for the luck of the draw).
Lilley’s Bee Sting Perry 7.5%: low barrel yeast flavour (starting to get a buzz, here, so this doesn’t make sense to me, either) that I don’t remember from pull taps. Sort of like the leathery/chemical aftertaste of aged tequila.
Corinium 1 A.D. Porter 4.4%: Trying to use up my beer tokens at this point, this one leaves an even 2 quid. Another coffee-ground brew but quite nice.
RCH Hewish 3.6%: 80 pence for this 1/3 pint of mild but nicely viscous (foam from the gravity pour). I have completely lost sense of smell and the perry rounds obscure little I do have. I think I could do this again.
Plain Ales Inncognito 4.8%: best stout of the day (most “stout like”) plus I spent the £1.20 of my beer tokens. Result.
*Slater’s Smoked Porter (from Swindon 28th Annual Beer Festival tasting notes): Dark chestnut in colour. Beechwood smoked malt and German Noble hops give a spicy smoked flavour.