13 February 2009

St. Valentine's Winter Beer Festival

I do not need much of an excuse to go to The Willoughby Arms but any reluctance induced by the cold and the snow was blown away by the St. Valentine's Winter Beer Festival.

This is a much smaller affair that the two big beer festivals that The Willoughby runs each year, on St. George's Day and at Halloween, but there are plenty of new beers for an amateur fan like myself to enjoy.

It had just started to snow again when I set out for the mile or so walk to the pub, which is the idea weather for dark fruity beers.

As is always the case at festivals, I had heard of very few of the breweries and even fewer of the beers so it was something of a lucky dip in deciding what to drink. There is a guide but it is simpler just to go on the name, much as most people pick their horses for the Grand National.

The evening started with Hammerpot Red Hunter then moved smoothly on to Ascot Anastasia's Exile Stout before going back to Hammerpot for some Bottle Wreck Porter. The evening was closed with a Downton Chocolate Orange Delight which does its best to taste like a Chocolate Orange while remaining an excellent beer.

The festival is only on for a few days, i.e. until the barrels run dry, but the weekend is upon us so I am sure that I will have the opportunity to try one or two more new beers before it ends. In fact, tonight looks like a good night to go for a walk!

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