After a break since 2012 I went back to the GBBF. It’s still in Olympia, but as the weather was somewhat overcast it didn’t get too hot in there during the day. But it was a good festival. I’m so glad I went this year. There were some cracking ales there and some very nice food too.
A couple of ales that stood out for me were:
This was quite a light ale, very fruity and citrus flavoured. I really enjoyed it, although I know it isn’t to everyone’s tastes.
I liked this mild for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was a nice mild, and I don’t tend to drink mild much these days. It had a lovely burnt flavour that wasn’t too overpowering at all. Secondly, I liked the name, which reminded me of The Boards of Canada, The Campfire Headphase, and thirdly, I really liked the design. So I think I may need to locate some of these in the not too distant future.
This year was also unique as I actually managed to get my glass home with me! The last few times I’d been to the GBBF I’d not bothered as normally I’d either mislay it on the way home, or it would get broken. This year it lasted all the way home!
It’s been a couple of years since I was on the Rail Ale train. It’s a lovely evening on the bluebell railway in Sussex and well worth trying out if you’ve never been. The format is simple. Steam train + Real Ale + Sausage and Mash supper + Jazz band. Easy.
The atmosphere is lovely, especially if you have a really nice sunny evening to enjoy as well. The crowd is all there to have a good time and enjoy the beers, of which there were many, and all good in terms of those I managed to sample.
It isn’t the cheapest evening out, but as an occasional outing it’s well worth the money, and of course, as the Bluebell railway is a charity I don’t begrudge them the cash.
My favourite ale of the evening was called “Piston Broke”, which seemed apt in some ways for a pleasant evening of beer and music.
A nice festival and bigger than last year, or so it seemed. At least it must have been a bit bigger as they actually ran out of beer at the Oxted festival on the Saturday night. I’m not sure that I’ve ever been to a beer festival where that’s happened before.
It was a good event. Music wasn’t bad, food had some interesting choices too. But if anyone offers you a sausage role called a ‘ring burner’, just say no. Take my advice.
I’ve only been on Rail Ale once before, and that was before the Bluebell line extended to East Grinstead. Now that it comes all the way up to the mainline service it’s really easy to get to, and of course it’s a much longer line and therefore a lot more fun to be on.
The ale was very good (see menu above) and as it was a fine evening, as opposed to pouring rain the last time I went, it was a great night out. I’d thoroughly recommend it to anyone who enjoys steam trains and real ale.