The Coventry Beer Festival started last night but we didn't go until the saturday afternoon session. We were a bit disappointed to find that some of the beers had sold out already, such as the elderflower beer, which we would have been interested in trying.
The range of beers was impressive, especially when we realised that we hadn't seem many of them before. A lot of previous beer festivals have had a lot of beers in common but this year the selection of new beers was impressive.
There was also a good selection of ciders and perries and also fruit wines. We finished off with a glass of the sloe wine and the rosehip wine.
A lot of the small shops near us have started selling Polish beers. Some have quite an extensive range. We were pleasantly surprised by the Redd's range of fruit flavoured beers. Last week we bought a can of the Apple beer. We initially thought it was cider (we had already bought a couple of bottles of cider from another shop). It was a bit of a surprise to find it was an apple flavoured beer. Tonight we bought some cans of their other flavours: Sun and Red. The Sun was citrus-y whereas the Red was raspberry flavoured. They would both work well as summer drinks, served chilled. I think I preferred them to the apple version.
The Whitefriars pub (on Gosford Street) started its beer festival tonight. It was a bit smaller than the university festival (only 12 beers compared to over 100) but it did have the advantage of friendlier surroundings, and being within walking distance of home.
I think 2 beer festivals in one week is enough.
The University's annual Real Ale Festival started tonight. Unfortunately it was a bit late starting because of the power cut. We had to wait for some kind of security check before the festival could start.
Once we got in it was the same old story. We exchanged money for a £5 card which had 50p,20p,10p and 5p boxes which got crossed out as we bought beer. They had their usual wide range of beers, ales, ciders and fruit wines. We stayed for a few hours before grabbing a chicken kebab from the kebab van on the way home.
The Camra-run beer festival is back. I had forgotten it was this weekend but I'd already booked today off work so we managed to go to the lunchtime session.
There were a few locally themed beers brewed specially for the festival:
Duckfat Bradshaw is named after a local youth hanged for a murder committed in the nearby Malt Shovel pub in 1821.
Fallen Arches commemorates the occasion in 1857 when the railway arches collapsed.
The festival is being held at the Butts Park Arena rugby stadium again. Last year we lived within walking distance of the venue but unfortunately our new house means a bus ride across the city first. It wasn't enough to put us off.
Tonight is the start of the University of Warwick beer festival, run by the Real Ale Society. As well as beers, there is also a decent selection of fruit wines and ciders, but disappointingly only one perry. Having been to several of these festivals recently, it's starting to get difficult to find beers which we haven't had before, but with around 100 beers on offer we should be able to find something.
Essentially a pub crawl around the Black Country, by bus. The trip was organised by someone from work and most of the people there were either employees or friends of employees. The bus was half an hour late because they had to double back to avoid a low bridge. This meant we only had 10 minutes at the first pub (The Forge in Halesowen) but we were allowed to take our drinks onto the bus as long as we poured them into a plastic 'glass' first.
It was very difficult drinking on the bus, mainly due to the bumpiness of the ride. Despite that, the on board bar seemed to do good business. The next pub was the Dry Dock, in Dudley. Notable for having a bar made out of an old canal boat. The third pub was the Blue Brick, then last of all The Pie Factory in Tipton.
It was a good night out and a good way of seeing other parts of the midlands.
Update: A number of people have contacted me asking for details about booking the beer bus. Their website is www.blackcountrytours.co.uk.
Last year the festival was held at Highfield Road but with the stadium being demolished (because Coventry City have moved to the new Ricoh Arena), this year it was held at the Butts Park Arena Rugby Club. This was handy because it's just round the corner from where we live.
We went to the first session yesterday lunchtime (£1 entry fee and a full range of beers on offer) and the final session tonight (£2 entry in evenings). It should really have been cheaper for the final session because a lot of the beers had sold out.
We managed to try a good selection of beers and wines, and also came away with one of the 'festival branded' half pint glasses (which we had to pay a deposit for so they expected some to be taken as souvenirs).
Tonight was the party to drink the rest of the Biology Society homebrew - this was made in december and the first party (where about half of the beer got drunk) was last month.
As well as homebrew, we also tried 'turbo purple' - this was inspired by the drink served at the real ale festival, where they used strong lager, cider and blackcurrent wine. We used homebrew lager, a bottle of strongbow, and our blackberry and elderberry wine. It tasted fine.
Last night was the final night of the university's Real Ale Society's beer festival. Over the last 3 nights there have been lots of beers, ales, lagers, ciders, perrys and wines available to taste. Unfortunately I've had to get up early for work every morning, meaning that I've not been able to try as many beers as I'd like but we did manage to sample a good selection. There was only one (a dry perry) which we didn't like but it wasn't bad enough to leave it undrunk.
Tonight was one of our regular Aber reunions for the MSc Comp-Sci course and assorted friends and hangers-on. When I say regular, it's usually twice per year - the last one (and actually the first one because most of us only moved away last year) was at Christmas. Todays event was a kind of pub crawl with a stop at Wetherspoons for food. We started off in The Glen on the sea front. Everything was going well until it started to rain. We retired indoors so people could play pool or lose to the quiz machine.
We moved to Wetherspoons for more beer and some food, then we had the usual discussions about which pub to go to next. We ended up in The Mill. Despite living round the corner from it in 2003/4, it was never one of my favourite pubs. There's nothing much wrong with it really, I think it might have been a bad first impression and a dodgy pint of so-called real ale. It was actually much better tonight.
Tradition dictates that we end the night in either Rummers or The Bay - we tried Rummers first but it was full so we made the trek back to the sea front for The Bay. I was starting to feel a bit full so we left after one pint. Earlier today, Emma wanted to go for a paddle but we didn't have time. We didn't want to leave Aber without having one so we had ourselves a midnight paddle on our way back to the B & B.