ScrumDown Beer Festival Review

Camra backed beer festival (well its on the programme), this was my second year of visiting (2013 is their 6th), last year it coincided with a very rainy Diamond Jubilee celebration – so much so that the day I went on was very sparsely attended.

It is an odd set up. Beer tent on one side, band tent on other and when the rains did come in 2012 this lead to the odd site of the band playing in their covered up tent, with the punters in the other tent trying to look through 2 set of plastic windows.


Above is the beer tent on a well attended 2013 day.  Then again they ran out of glasses again, so its nice to get an honest reduction of the entry fee because of this (and drinking out of plastic).

Beers consumed were a vast array of Coachhouse fruit beers (Toffee, Coconut, Banana and Apricot – all 5%) and all were much of a muchness, Ronseal beers if you will – bitters with said above flavourings. Easily and enjoyably drinkable, but like going for a curry – you think everything on the menu is going to be different, but really its the same base to which a few other meaningless things are added so its not half as special or different as you think it actually is.

Then again I’m half tempted to say the same about Ginger Beers:

These were represented by Abbeydale‘s Djinn Jar (4.2%) and PeerlessJinja Ninja (4%).

Like the aforementioned fruit beers, they are good beers, not something you could spend a night on though, but at least the ginger essence was subtle compared to some others (I’m looking at your top lip numbing (in a good way) Ginger Marble).

Bumble Beer (4.3%) by Wentworth was a nice honey tinged beer and a damn sight better than their School of Hop (3.9%) which just wasn’t my thing. Their Plum Stout (4.8%) was a good example of a stout with just a hint of fruity flavour, which may seem to contradict my previous witterings but I always feel the darker beers are best suited to flavourings.

Honey Pot (4.4%) by Old Bear was a very good, light and refreshing beer, which to be fair I got in the club house in a glass, but it was still quaffed quickly as was their Hibernator (5%) which was a good, strong red ale, the way I like them.

Dark Knight (4.6%) by Medieval as another good stout, smooth but full and balanced.

Much like Brimstone (3.9%) by Abbeydale, which was an almighty concoction of smells and flavours that just about worked.

Which brings me to my two favourites, which both decided to go all out soliloquy in their tasting notes (to be discussed further):

Storr Lager – a 4.8% blatant pilsner tasting glass of crisp smoothness by Peerless.

Absolution (5.3%) by the aforementioned Abbeydale which I simple wrote next to it “Dangerous” – a sure sign that it drinks quickly, tastes good (yes more fruity overtones) and results in the need to have food sooner rather than later.

Food was available at this place – a good helping of chili or a hot-dog were the offerings – I don’t know if anyone asked for a chili dog because Americana just HAS to be associated with beer these days (again, another subject).

So this leaves me to once again thank all those involved in the organisation, setup and service of this event, even if it is in aid of the wrong type of rugby.


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