Here's an event we had to go back to. Northumberland Beer Festival is based in Longframlington Memorial Hall and run by the Coquetdale Round Table. Last year the festival opened its doors for the first time as a small affair driven by community spirit. This year it seemed the aim was to raise the game and double the beer range.
But wait, this wasn't just a bigger beer range, this was a fine selection of the region's beers with various new beers on offer. Starting things off I had Allendale Fermata, a 3.1% citra-hopped table beer that's made its name on the local scene. It sure goes down easily. Light malt base, citrus and melon overtones, and a light finish of more resonating citric hops. Sticking with Allendale, the slightly peculiar Belgian wit Cumulus sure hit the mark. A little like the excellent Allendale Weizen but with a big hit of raw, zesty, orange peel at the forefront. But then in the same off-centred wheat beer ballpark, Anarchy Grin and Bare it surprised as an impressive display of contemporary brewing. Soft-bodied orange and bubblegum yeasty fullness meets bold resiny hops. This beer was first released as a 2013 Newcastle Beer Festival battle of the beers entrant. Back then it seemed noisy, complicated and without a clear direction but now it seems Anarchy have made the concept work.
Some nice session blonde ales filled out the range like Wylam Magick and Mordue Summer Tyne then we meet Five Towns Strange Brew. A big burly 7% IPA that featured soft, floral, melon-like tones with a brisk, brooding bitterness. Not entirely that strange but a little odd selection of hops I'm thinking. But hey you don't always need odd-ball new wave beers to steal the moment and from what I was told my Mordue Panda Frog Project Endangered Species was well received. As a 6% strong mild it was designed to be a big, dark, characterful old school beer. Also holding the line of the dark and traditional was Cullercoat's Polly Donkin Oatmeal Stout,.a smooth velvety chocolate led affair backed by blackberry fruit and prickly English hops that develop in the finish.
Me and the bar staff (showmon)
After the sixteenth half this was a hell of a lot of fun. The bairn seemed to like it to.
Garry the militant militia guerrilla joined us for a short period
So overall a great day was had by all and various great beers were tried. I will certainly be looking forward to a re-visit next year.