At the end of last week the Wetherspoon Autumn Beer Festival list was released, but I've only had a chance to look at it now. You can find it here.
Running from October 5th-23rd and is as big as ever with 50 beers available, with extra ciders and perries planned for the fortnight too. On first glance there was nothing all too inspiring, a lot of the brewers featured are the same as last time around, but digging a bit deeper there's still beers to get excited about. In addition to some decent old favourites (St Austell Proper Black, Thornbridge Brother Rabbit) there's a saison from Okells, Cossac Imperial Stout from Caledonian and an Everards beer single hopped with Whatauku. I love new zealand hops so look forward to getting a chance to try that. Northern Ireland is represented too with Hilden's new beer Twisted Hop.
Something to get more excited about are the five beers brewed by American brewers in the UK. Previously these international beers brewed in the UK have been festival highlights. This time we're treated to:
Eclipse Cascadian Dark Ale 4.8% was designed by Tonya of Bend Brewing. However she "was stranded at the airport" because of Hurricane Irene. Not sure where this was brewed.
Kalamazoo Black Silk, a 4% oatmeal stout from John Mallet of Bell’s Brewery brewed at Marston’s.
Fat Head’s Yakima Sun, a 5% US hopped ESB by Matt Cole, from Fat Head’s Brewery, has travelled to Shepherd Neame.
Odell 90 Shilling (5.3%) from Doug Odell was brewed at Caledonian. I've always found this beer a bit too sweet for my palate in bottle form; so look forward to seeing how it works in cask.
Stone San Diego Session IPA is probably the most exciting. Mitch Steele, from Stone Brewery has brewed a hop-forward session strength American Pale Ale at Wadworths brewery.
So there's actually plenty to choose from. I recommend you go along to your nearest branch (unless you know its a bad one...) and make use of the three thirds for the price of a pint. Remember you can get 50p off per pint too if you're a CAMRA member!
Northern Ireland Wetherspoon has again organised a coach crawl around all 9 pubs over two days over the final weekend (22,d and 23rd). Details can be found on the branch website under the what's on page. I went along last year and its great craic, so can heartily recommend it. The week before is the Northern Ireland branch 30th anniversary too, also at the Bridge House in Belfast.