It's that time of year again. The Alnwick Beer Festival has always been a highlight of the year for me. Every year The Alnwick Round Table make it slightly different and last year's Scottish beer theme was changed to a new brewery theme, celebrating the large range of new existing (and one non-existing) breweries springing up and around the region. Sadly this meant they would be cutting back on the old timers. No Durham beers this year, no Big Lamp and no Mordue. Those who remember last year's festival may recall Mordue Northumbrian Blonde selling out first, which lefrt me a little confused as to why it wasn't chosen this year.
But none the less a good set of beers was put forward, with the likes of Anarchy, Tyne Bank, Cullercoats and Coquetdale out in force. It was time to hunt out some new beers but for me Cullercoats' Jack the Devil is a beer that needs a second try to fully appreciate. Dark, lots of tart berry fruit with a kind of rugged traditional feel about it. Tyne Bank's Southern Star was juicy, with an aromatic New Zealand hop influence and Black Moss by High House Farm was pleasantly chocolatey and malt forward. There were plenty of old reliables to complement the new beers. Wylam Bitter, Jarrow Bitter, Auld Hemp and Allendale Wolf are all good to fall back on but for hop head beer geek types Wylam's vibrant single hopped Chinook was the most assertively hop forward beer in the building.
|Baby Susie, first beer festival at 4 weeks old|
|One of my favourite stalls, Allendale brewery brought a range of bottled beers|