Archive for the ‘beer festivals’ Tag

October Recap: Pubs, Daily Tipples, Chippies, and the G-Had   81 comments


New pubs to the blog count, all on two day trip to IoW

New pubs to the blog count, all on two day trip to IoW


At first glance, October seemed a month of two halves — the first healthy and spry, the last stinking of death and decay.  Yet, closer examination reminds me that I’ve been ill more or less constantly since the 10th of the month despite making the Isle of Wight Marathon trip, another cancer surgery (and spillage from the same), and having a busier than usual month at work.  The weather has been spectacular, I’m told.

I added 11 pubs to the count entirely on the two-day trip to the Isle of Wight Marathon.  Two new ones appeared in Oxford (old ones but with major refurbishments and name changes) but they will have to wait until November.  The best of the new additions has to be the Red Lion in Southampton, but you could do a lot worse than The Crab and Lobster Tap (Ventnor), The Traveller’s Joy (Northwood), or most-up-my-alley The Painter’s Arms (Cowes).

The Daily Tipple list accurately represents the beer consumption for the month with a little more than half favouring darker varieties like stout, porter, and mild.  Choosing one per day was really the hard part as almost every new pub mentioned above supplied local brews that I have never tried before and the Swindon Beer Fest introduced 7 beers and 3 ciders new to me (and scores more I didn’t get around to):


DT #





274 01-Oct Thwaites Wainwright bitter Wheatsheaf
277 04-Oct Yates 130 Birthday Ale bitter Yates
296 23-Oct John Willie’s 100 bitter Four Candles
278 05-Oct Andwell Gold Muddler blonde ale Steam Railway
284 11-Oct Ale of Wight blonde ale Crab and Lobster Tap
287 14-Oct Old Growler dark beer Far From the Madding Crowd
291 18-Oct Trojan Horse dark IPA (IDA) The Savoy
297 24-Oct Edinburgh Pale Ale IPA The William Morris
285 12-Oct Theakston’s Mild mild Isle of Wight Community Club
292 19-Oct Colonel’s Whiskers mild The Savoy
293 20-Oct Moorhouse’s Black Cat Reserve mild Four Candles
298 25-Oct Plain Ales Inncognito stout 2014 Swindon Beer Festival
299 26-Oct Belhaven Black stout Beehive
302 29-Oct Marston’s Oyster Stout stout Four Candles


DT #





301 28-Oct Taylor’s Select Reserve port house
275 02-Oct Anciano Reserva Tempranillo red wine house
276 03-Oct Simo Crianza red wine house
279 06-Oct Trapiche Pinot Noir red wine house
280 07-Oct La Rabatte Chianti red wine house
282 09-Oct Banrock Station Shiraz Mataro red wine house
283 10-Oct Arpeggio Nerello Mascalese red wine Rustico, Swindon
286 13-Oct Desconocido red wine house
288 15-Oct Villa Garducci Montepulciano d’Abruzzo red wine house
289 16-Oct Morrison’s Claret red wine house
290 17-Oct Rosemount Reserve Shiraz Grenache red wine house
295 22-Oct Featherstone Ruby Cabernet Shiraz red wine house
303 30-Oct Bin 99 Cabernet Franc red wine house
304 31-Oct Navarra Old Vines Garnacha red wine house
294 21-Oct Luis Felipe Edwards Rose rose wine house
281 08-Oct Inycon Pinot Grigio Grecanico white wine house


DT #





300 27-Oct John Lee Bourbon booze house


The Fish and Chips Challenge was in a lull partly due to the ongoing medical problems and partly due to the remoteness of new venues and my ability to reach them.  My spreadsheet updates my days-per-fish rate and the minimum number for the year (based on one every 7 days until year-end) after each fish.  The average of these two appears to be converging on 124.9 for the year (let’s say 125).  I’m going for a pub fish and chip lunch when I finish this post, so this looks like a fairly good prediction.

103 Yates’ Swindon, Wiltshire 04-Oct-14 Pub
104 Stotesbury’s Fish and Chips Newport, Isle of Wight 11-Oct-14 Chippy
105 Tottie’s Fish and Chips Cowes, Isle of Wight 12-Oct-14 Chippy
106 Morrison’s Battered Cod Fillets Swindon, Wiltshire 17-Oct-14 House
107 The William Morris Cowley, Oxfordshire 24-Oct-14 Pub
108 Swindon Beer Fest Food Tent Swindon, Wiltshire 25-Oct-14 other


Chippy Challenge 2014-10-31 prediction chart

The G-Had has started to make an impact.  In October, the site had more hits than in all months prior combined.  It also led to paranoid behaviour by North Wilts HHH when they tried to pretend a run wasn’t going to happen and then came up with a clever (but easy to defeat) trail marking plan to foil the IntifadHHHa.  With local attention piqued and health poor, the war became one more of propaganda than contact but a fresh scalp was added courtesy the Isle of Wight HHH.

Also, the subtleties of the Intifad-HHH-a versus a Calip-hhh-ate became a matter of record, over on the G-Had HHH site.


GHadHHH Hits


Swindon Beer Fest Food Tent, Chippy Challenge #108   1 comment

2014 Swindon Beer Fest cod and chips

[The Chippy Challenge: to eat more fish and chips in 2014; see original post for details.]

Fish: cod
Sides: chips
Evaluation: probably lousy, but I was at a beer fest…ballast is ballast
Days since last: 1 (William Morris, Cowley)

2014 Swindon Beer Fest food tent
Map link.

Monthly consolidations/compilations: January

DT #298, 25 October 2014 (Plain Ales Inncognito)   Leave a comment

2014 Swindon Beer Fest Inncognito


The Swindon Beer Fest:
I could have spent £16
On frivolousness.

Name: Plain Ales Inncognito

Type: stout

Venue: 2014 Swindon Beer Festival

Review/notes: All the notes are in the Beer Fest Review (linked above).

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

Monthly consolidations/compilations: January

2014 Swindon Beer Festival   2 comments

2014 Swindon Beer Fest early barrels

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).

2014 Swindon Beer Fest back of STEAm

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).

Mr. Love and Justice tuning up

Mr. Love and Justice tuning up

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…

Mr Love and Justice -- old guys channelling REM and Echo & The Bunnymen and Lloyd Cole without irony or pathos

Mr Love and Justice — old guys channelling REM and Echo & The Bunnymen and Lloyd Cole without irony or pathos

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.

The Long Walk Home

The Long Walk Home

*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.

Posted 2014/10/25 by Drunken Bunny in beer festivals

Tagged with , ,

DT #145, 25 May 2014 (Mr Whitehead’s Toffee Apple) and R.A.T.S. Ale, Cider, and Sausage Fest   Leave a comment

Mr Whitehead's Toffee Apple

Yes, a sausage fest
Just like a Doug Stanhope show
Without the laughter.

Name: Mr Whitehead’s Toffee Apple
Type: cider
Venue: The Steam Railway Company, Swindon

Review/notes: Very pleasant toffee infused cider…not as sweet as I expected/dreaded.

The only women in the pub were employees.  Jackie wanted to go but was still fighting off a cold and wants to be well for the new job so it was up to me.  There were 18 ales and 10 ciders on and if I was going for more than one I would have joined their club for the discount; as it is, I hurried out to pick up some barbecue fixin’s but may double back tomorrow for some more.

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

Monthly consolidations/compilations: January

Swindon Beer Fest 2013   Leave a comment

2013 swindon beer fest 1

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.

2013 swindon beer fest 2

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.

2013 swindon beer fest 4

Posted 2013/10/27 by Drunken Bunny in beer festivals

Tagged with , , , , , ,

The Conservative Club, Swindon   1 comment

swindon conservative club

I was running down Bath Road toward the Town Gardens for a loop out to the end of the Rail Trail, Wichelstowe, and the Marlborough Road; to my right a large house had a bunch of bunting draped over it and out into the car park…I can’t pass by bunting. The small sign at the door said it was the Conservative Club holding its periodic Open House and Beer Festival (I completely overlooked the giant one hung from the bunting); on the one hand I felt like it might be a betrayal of my roots to go into a Tory stronghold but on the other hand they had beer.

swindon conservative club beer fest

Cheap beer, in fact, or rather good beer at a fair price. And, the guy that signed me in was very nice; in fact, everyone was pleasant especially considering my foul odours, unkempt and barely clothed state, and the fact that I’m a bloody foreigner. I really expected to find the club men played by Harry Enfield, Paul Whitehouse, and Charlie Higson but they were just my neighbours.

bunny harry and paul

“Have a look at this fellow…do you think he’s a quarr?” “Let’s ask Bunny. Oh Bunny, you’re a quarr, aren’t you?” “Oh yes, I’m a dreadful quarr.”

We chatted a bit and the vice-chairman told me quite a bit about the Burderop Hospital site (he worked there for a number of years) that made it sound less hellish than the account I was given a few weeks back. Several members seemed almost embarrassed by Swindon which put me on the defensive, a bit; it is far from perfect but it is also far from the biggest shit hole I’ve lived in (and there are many places on this island that do indeed qualify as such cesspools).

And, they assured me, it is only the Conservative Club in name. I still don’t feel comfortable joining, though…I couldn’t tell anyone if I did.

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