Yesterday marked the end of the second of 2011's JD Wetherspoon beer festivals. I've just got back from a great weekend visiting the Northern Ireland Wetherspoon pubs and got a lot more beers tried. Before the festival I was sceptical about the beer line up, so how did my experiences pan out?
By far the stand-out beer for me was Adnams American Style IPA (good brewer vlog here). It pissed all over Stone's effort (which I was disappointed about) and I enjoyed it so much I managed to fit in three pints of it over the weekend. For such an unassuming amber beer it is packed full of hop flavour, with character from each of the five hop types used, perfectly balanced. I only hope Adnams make it a regular brew, hop availability permitting!
St Austell Proper Black was even better in cask-conditioned format than the afore-tasted bottle.
Bend Eclipse Cascadian Dark Ale was the best of the American efforts. Plenty of cascade hops on the nose with a balance of sweet lemon and bitter chocolate and great condition made it very moreish.
Caledonian brewery and Doug Odell got together to produce cask 90 shilling. The beer was basically pure butterscotch and not at all pleasant to drink. Conversely, some people really enjoyed this.
Taking the pith had far too much peel added making it seem like drinking washing up liquid, I'd like to see future versions with much less.
The first third of Everards Whakatu I tried was undrinkable, horrible beer a real butterbomb. I put this down to brewery error and it was the first beer in about three years I've been unable to finish.I gave it another try back in Belfast and itwas much better, perhaps a little thin but a decent NZ-hopped session beer. It goes to show that for all the decent cellar managers Wetherspoon ha, there are still those who don't know how to look afterbeer properly
My biggest disappointment? Caledonian Cossack Imperial Russian Stout. Neither fullbodied nor complex as the tasting notes suggested. Very little hop character andtasting more like a low ABV stout than something of 6%, verydisappointing indeed.
In all theturn-outwas mediocre at best thistime around, with a couple of hidden gems that I'd drink again. I got through 30 of the 50 beers, not bad going for living in the arse end of nowhere! If you're interested in what I thought of the other beers than check the ratebeer thingummy over there --->
As always, I'm nosy and want to hear your thoughts on the festival selection or your reasons for avoiding if that was the case.
There are a few other festival write-ups already online. The beer monkey did a Glasgow perambulation whilst Tandelman got a chance to try a lot of beers in one night and agrees with me Re Adnams.
(I'll update this post with other links if I find any more!)