From Coast to Mountain (and back) in a Beer Glass!

Newspapers spot What's On 4 Me's Judge Brian at Doncaster Beer Festival

Brian from South Yorkshire What’s On 4 Me, recently judged ales at the Doncaster Beer Festival and here’s what he reports back…

The theme of this year’s Doncaster CAMRA Beer Festival was COAST & MOUNTAIN. A quest, not so much for the perfect pint, but a CELEBRATION of all the finest beers…

Well it was worth the wait, and required a reasonable recovery time (for www.whatson4me.co.uk ‘s resident publandlord), as the 21st Doncaster CAMRA Beer Festival was a resounding success. DoncasterCollege’s Hub campus was an excellent TAP ROOM for the estimated 2,500 people in attendance throughout the Festival. Afterall, a venue of prominence and stature was a prerequisite to house more than 100 cask ales including milds, stouts, porters, ciders and pale ales. And that is before we made a start at the continental bar featuring beers from around the globe.

With beer tokens in hand we approached, to all intense purposes, the Hadrians wall of Doncaster constructed from a seemingly infinite line of casks…

This blogger had a lips smacking sense of anticipation as we started our ‘tour’naturally with the whatson4me sponsored Impy Dark fromBrampton.  An excellent introduction laced with the aroma and flavours of roasted coffee and chocolate.

Now with the serious business of judging to follow it was time to sit down with fellow panellists, a plate of dry crackers and some still water (to clean the palate) and some last minute guidance from CAMRA Pubs ‘ officer Bob Kiddle .

Serious, professional business this beer tasting – the lengths the Whatson4me Team go to…

Faced with 9 Golden Ales of various hues we set to work with gay abondon – that is to say, we started to drink. The beer flowed, the chatter was colourful and the bonhomie magnificent…

Seriously we should all make this a regular part of our social diary, be it at CAMRA festivals or simply amongst friends.

This is the way to partake in sampling everything from ‘Spanked Monkey IPA’ to ‘Mrs Simpsons Thriller in Manilla’  or ‘Gecko To Nose You’ and ‘The Codrington Codger’, Doncaster’s own ‘Zigger Zagger’ courtersy of the Toad Brewery, the delightful ‘Lucinda’s Lager’ (not just for the ladies) and one of your blogger’s personal favourites; ‘ Scratty Ratty’…. 

I could go on… but this year’s winners were:

Best Bitter of the Festival and Overall Beer of the Festival – Skinners Keel Over

Speciality Beer- Isle of Avalon Willow’s Raspberry Ripple

Golden Ale – Townhouse Enigma

Mild – Isle of Avalon Jake’s Mild 

Porter – Elland 1872 Porter

Bitter – Mallinsons Europa

Stout – Two Roses Black Beauty

So with the ‘professional’ duties duly fulfilled it was time to make a start on my favourite corner of the festival. No not the succulent morsels from the HUB’s food counters , or the live music stage with excellent local bands, or the kids/family area, but the CONTINENTAL BAR.

This ‘taster’ had stepped up the ante to enter those legendary beerhalls ofValhalla!

After all to enjoy the ‘Mirabelle’ a 3.5% plum flavoured lambic fromBelgiumto theSierra Nevada’Bigfoot Barley Wine Ale’ @ 9.6% introduces new extremes of fine beer appreciation.

This was a great event for everyone (ages, shapes & sizes), a clean and efficient venue with lots of friendly people.

The presence in the crowd of such a wide age range, from young to slightly more mature, and the high proportion of the fairer looking sex truly made this a festival to revisit.

Watch out for more CAMRA events in your locALE by visting www.whatson4me.co.uk

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