January & February Beer Festivals
A dozen Fen folk took the trains in January to Newark for the Beermuda Triangle beer festival - so called due to the three participating pubs forming a triangle, into which gallons of beer would disappear as if by magic.
First stop was the Prince Rupert, a pub lovingly restored to its Elizabethan glory with its cosy multi-roomed character. Beers on gravity included Fat Cat Bitter, Honey, Stout Cat and Wild Cat, Maypole India Vanilla Ale (a real favourite), Magic Rock Curious and High Wire. In addition there were at least 6 hand-pumped beers in the regular bar.
Next stop was Just Beer which dispenses just that. The long narrow room was crowded but service was quite swift. Botanist Night Porter, brewed in Richmond, London, was rich, dark, and complex, whereas Cullercoats Jack the Devil was just yummy - or so the notes say. Wilson Potter In the Black as you would imagine was a rich dark stout with a fruity roasted malt aroma and taste. Titanic Iron Curtain at 6% a heavy Imperial Russian stout had a soporific effect on certain members. 23 breweries were represented here with over 30 beers.
On then to the Castle where Betty Stoggs had Betty's Big Sister weighing in at 5%, Brewsters Wicked Women Cruella, Wobbly Spire from Northampton, York Stout, and Bishops Farewell from Oakham were all sampled. It was then time to find the station and return home.
A visit to Hucknall beer festival was well worth the train and tram trip from Fenland in February. The beers were in excellent condition with a good range for probably all tastes - favourites being Raven Stout from Magpie, Marlpool Otters Pocket, Muirhouse Coffee Porter, Nottingham Broadway Reel Ale, and Spire Candleriggs 1909. In all 55 beers from 21 breweries were on during the week-end. It's especially enjoyable to meet up with your son who had helped set up (having hands on training from Ray and Andrew - the Nottingham CAMRA glitterati, as he put it) and was also behind the bar. Naturally top class service was received. The addition of the farmers market in the hall enabled a wobble home with Cheshire/Shropshire cheese, and Melton Mowbray pork pie.