As I mentioned recently, my first post for The Brew Club was regarding my annual pilgrimage to the Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) – check out 2008’s GBBF post if you like.
This year, proudly wearing my ‘British Edition’ ‘Brew Club’ T Shirt we visited the 2009 GBBF on the Saturday; we normally attend on the Friday, and after this year’s experience, I suspect we’ll go back to Fridays. One of my personal traditions is to start the day with Timothy Taylor’s “Landlord” – I consider that to be a useful (and high) benchmark from which to start reviewing. But sadly on this Saturday they’d sold out of ‘Landlord’! aargh! I started with ‘Bombardier‘ which was served from a converted double decker bus.
I tried a few drinks from the ‘Biere Sans Frontieres’ bar, even this bar had been pretty well stripped by the Saturday, but they did have some draught beers from the Czech ‘Bernard’ brewery.
Bernard Cerne Pivo (5.1%, Dark Lager)
It was great to try this on draught, a great dark larger with ruby highlights; the taste was roast chocolate with a soft sweetness and bitter coffee finish. On draught it was even more mellow than the bottled version I reviewed
Bernard Svatecni Lezak (5%, Lager)
A mellow gold, well balanced lager with some sweet malt in the taste and a long bitter aftertaste.
Schwarze Anna (5.2%, Dark Lager)
A classic example of a black beer from the Neder brewery in Forcheim which was established in 1554. Quite a light, malt dominated, flavour for a beer of this colour.
Lion Stout (8%, Stout)
I reviewed Lion Stout back in April after my wife and I visited Sri Lanka, this wonderful stout is hard to find in the UK and I just couldn’t resist it – fortunately at 8% ABV it was available in 330ml bottles! It remains a rich, traditional stout, very aromatic, with lots of chocolate, coffee and toffee flavours and a citrusy tang in the finish.
It wasn’t all foreign beers, during the afternoon we sampled some interesting British Ales:
Armageddon (5%) Tydd Steam Brewery – Cambridgeshire
While the Armageddon moniker is perhaps a bit over the top, this was a really refreshing amber bitter, with sweet malt flavours that combined with a complex blend of fruity hops leading to a satisfying sweet finish.
Hanged Monk (3.8%) Tipples Brewery – Norwich
Classic East Anglian dark brown mild with well-rounded malty aroma, malty taste and slighty hoppy bite; sweetness and roast flavours develop in the finish.
Yewbarrow (5.5%) Great Gable Brewery – Cumbria
This was a dark mild ale with robust roast flavours, rich and malty, with chocolate and coffee aromas and hints of spice and fruit. The bottled version of this won Silver in the festival’s Champion Beer of Britain in the bottled ale category.
And, for your diary, the GBBF takes place at Earl’s Court in London in the first week of August each year. If you’re thinking of visiting London in the summer, try and time it for then!