I wasn’t able to attend too much of this year’s Bristol Beer Week but I managed to get up there for the Friday, heading round the back of Templemeads for the start of the Craft Beer Festival.
Organised by the same people that put on the London Craft Beer Festival it brings together around 30 breweries from around the world. Adopting my favourite format for modern festivals, entry provided a small glass and freedom to try any number of 90ml tasters form the small, approachable bars set around the edge of the ‘rustic’ warehouse setting.
Bigger or well known breweries included Sierra Nevada, Brewdog, Stone, Beavertown, Kernel, Magic Rock and Thornbridge, whilst those that were new, local, growing or unheard of (to me) made for a great mix.
As a fan of Northern Monk, Yeastie Boys, Cloudwater and Wild Beer it was great to try some of their beers that were new to me, whilst it wouldn’t have been Bristol Beer Week without locals Left Handed, Good Chemistry and Lost and Grounded.
However, that said, my stand out brewers were all from outside of the UK. The rather talented Swedes on the Dugges bar offered the bold, fruity Tropic Thunder, a rich barrel aged quad and the aptly named elderflower Dream Beer. I have little experience of modern French breweries so the FR Indie stand was a revelation. Adventurous, well made and totally unexpected, Amorena (La Debauche) was a rich, 14% number that provided the deep, raisin and malt you’d expect from that strength whilst the barrel aged Berlinerweisse from La Brasserie du Mont Salève was outstanding. Starting off light, zingy and tart as you’d expect, it had a deep, robust body into the finish that I hadn’t experienced from this style before.
Top 5 beers of the day:
- Mont Salève BA Berlinerweisse
- Dugges Tropical Thunder
- Northern Monk Patrons Coffee Porter (1.02)
- Wild Beer Sourdough
- Good Chemistry Morello Theory
All in all a great afternoon. Nice atmosphere, minimal queues and good company (in my case at least). See you there next year – I may even take some photos next time.