Gin Pit Beer & Cider Festival 2014

This event took place on Friday 14th – Saturday 15th February 2014.

The full title of the festival should really be “Astley Miners Welfare & A&T Cricket Club Beer & Cider Festival 2014”

Lots of ampersands.

This was the 3rd happening of this festival and my 2nd in attendance.

My glass is one of my mate’s car’s boot (stored so we could go out afterwards) and I’ll add a photo of this and the programme when I get it back.

The festival raises funds for the Cricket Club – I may mock cricket as not being a sport, but seeing as you need to change your shoes to play it properly I suppose it counts, just don’t ever expect me to watch it or cheer for England.

Admission is £5, which gets you your glass and programme.

Tokens are of the printed kind, crossed off with marker pen – they are in £1 and 50p, they are amended to 25p should the need arise.

Prices are straight-forward, pretty sure the ales were £1.25 a half and £2.50 a pint.

Think the ciders and lagers were £1.50/£3.

Basically if you don’t like beers you can still get kaylied on either Leffe Blond, Staropramen, Birra Moretti or Estrella Damn for £3 a pint, but don’t then moan when your notice your Fosters tastes like shit.

Like wise you could get, like a few of my group did, blottoed on numerous 7%+ ciders, of which the blueberry one seemed to go down very well, obviously bringing back memories of Mr. Freeze giant ice pops – complete with blue stained tongues.

There were 13 beers to choose from and yet again I didn’t manage to try all of them.

So apologies in advance to Allgates Brewery, Marble Brewery and Portobello Brewery.

I’ve had and enjoyed, respectively, your Gin Pit (4.3%), Marble Summer (4.5%) and Portobello Star (4.3%) as the most recent of the beers and so had to forego them this time.

Oh yes, food – there was a van outside but I never went near it, as it is a club the facilities are satisfactory, with very good hand driers, but I kept going to the bar for grab bag crisps to tide me over before the inevitably agreed upon curry when we had all run out of our tokens.

Also as it remains a functioning club (with live music) there are always (and I mean) always kids around (obviously not near the bar area) so have a higher tolerance if drinking around kids isn’t your thing.

Also, for the 2nd year in a row (no blog this time last year, hence no review till now) there were no darker drinks, but for someone like me it is good to be steered to the lighter ales from time to time.

First up was Great Heck Brewery with the 3.9% Navigator. Good and typical session bitter – I’ve gone from only seeing their drinks in bottles to them cropping up in many bars, so that is a good sign for this North Yorkshire brewery.

Next was a Snowdonia Ale (3.6%) by Purple Moose Brewery (Bragdy Mws Piws). This was CAMRA champion beer of Britain in 2012, pale yet no massively hoppy it was a pleasant enough brew.

Bingley Beer Works (website not loading?) offered their 4.0% Bingley Blonde. A very easy drinking golden ale with tastes of vanilla.

Hard Knott had brought along their Duality (4.5%), which was another golden ale, bitter and malty.

Otley Brewing provided their Otley 01 (4.0%), yet another golden ale and yet another previous CAMRA Beer of Britain Winner (2008) and yet another brew with a bitter finish.

In my glass next was the Partridge Best (4.0%) by Dark Star Brewing. I was almost warned and offered a taster before I had this, wasn’t with the other drinks. Can’t think why. In my notes I just put “proper bitter” as in I think it is what a bitter should be, rather than it being ‘proper bitter’.

Thornbridge Brewery had brought along their Sequoia (4.5%). Thornbridge do good beers, this was no exception, rather complex in its tastes and smells making it stand out from the others, which were otherwise quite straight-forward brews (which is no bad thing at all).

Finally on my list I had the 4.5% Wacky Winter Warmer by OffBeat Brewery. A lot lighter than you’d think given the name, by that I mean pale. Fruit tastes and smells is my over-riding impression, again unlike the name suggests. Not bad though.

It’s a good little festival, if you want the challenge of trying all the drinks (and I don’t mean actually buying them, not sodding, cretinous tasters) then it is something you can never do anywhere else except a pub mini-festival.

Not that I wish to promote binge drinking.

But if you are going to binge, do it on good beers.

Thanks to all staff involved in the organisation and the selling me of the beer.

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