Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Wetherspoon’s Beer Festival

As you can see from the attached photograph I do write notes on the beers I try, usually on the beer lists, not sure if this is including in the definition of ‘beer ticking’ but it did cause my partner to laugh whenever he saw the booklet and pen (yes, I have spare pens in there as well) come out of the handbag. Whatever you call it at least I have a good list for ordering beers off the internet when I have spare cash.

Unfortunately due to the way the pubs local to me selected their beers for this festival I didn’t get to try all the ones I wanted, however I did try 9 out of 16 short listed by myself and another 5 on the list. All in all is not a bad attempt. One thing I like about these festivals is due to the fact the beers shift faster in the festival they are usually in better condition for us drinkers.

Highlights for me were Goose Island’s Honker’s Ale which we got from the cask at my partner’s local Wetherspoons, malty scent, with fruit cakey tones to it and a lovely smooth sweetish bitter taste which had a long finish to it. St Peter’s Old Style Porter which was rather gorgeous it has to be said. Nethergate’s Red Poll which was certainly a bully pint although I just didn’t get the liquorice notes in either the taste or scent. Phoenix’s Black Shadow was the best mild I have tasted in a Wetherspoon’s festival to date and last but not least Cairngorm Brewery’s Culloden was a lovely morish pint with a wonderful portique toffee scent which again we tried from cask rather than pump.

The only real let down for me was the Maui Brewery’s Coconut Porter, it started nicely with a gentle coconut tint to the coffee porter taste but then right at the end of the finish it hit you with a bang of a bitter acrid taste which was hard to shift from your palate even with numerous cups of tea. I wondered if this was a problem with shifting the brewing location as it such a discordant note it can’t be on purpose. One day I will get to head over to Hawaii and try it brewed in its proper brewery and then I will give a final opinion on it. It was a lovely beer up until that bang.

I enjoyed the festival a lot and even now there are still festival beers on the go at various pubs so it is worth a trip to see if you can catch any of them.


  1. Arrggh! was I the only person in the UK to make repeated trips to 'spoons, only to keep missing the Honkers? Oh well. You win some, you lose some. I stayed clea of the Coconut porter - the Titanic Tomahawk was lovely though. I'm all for making notes - certainly helps if the night goes on a little too long...

  2. We only got to try the Honkers on the last Saturday of the festival and that was more luck than anything else. Didn't get to try the Tomahawk we just couldn't find it on anywhere.

    Unfortunately I don't think each Wetherspoons gets in all the festivals beers just a selection depending on what they think they could shift. London ones were better than my local two though.

  3. I've been busy and never got along to our Wetherspoons festival. I recently spent 6 days trying to get adverts for our local CAMRA mag (plenty of nice pubs but hardly any beer as I was driving), plus a load of local live music events, most of which I played at. So I missed it ... the downside of the rock & roll lifestyle.