Bradford Beer Festival 2010

A brief and hazy rundown

Rob’s Picks

It’s the morning after the opening night of Bradford Beer Festival and I can gladly say with a slightly hazy head…It was great

What did I drink? From what I can remember, it was the following:

Bridestone American Pale Ale, I’ve enjoyed the Bridestones beers I’ve had so far and this didn’t disappoint. Yes its nothing remarkable but a very easy drinking and balanced pale ale.

Fyne Ales Hurricane Jack was a very enjoyable bitter with nice sweet malt and pleasing grassy hops.

I had both beers from Outstanding Beer Co of Bury, Pilsner and Amber Bock. The Bock had a jar full of mild, waxy honey on the nose and a fruity malt taste. The pilsner was balanced but I wished it was a bit cooler. I’m not scared to have a pilsner at a “Pongey Ale” festival. I applaud Outstanding’s confidence to have a bash at these European styles.

I bagged a tasty half of my beloved Saltaire Brewery in the shape of Bulldog Brown Ale. A bright and rounded brown ale. I don’t often find many brown ales, but when I do I really enjoy them.

I ended the night on a third of Wensleydale Beaters Strong Ale. A big figgy fruit pudding of an old ale. Much better than the bottle I had at Christmas.

You gorgeous dark beauty!

But the star of the show was the Thornbridge Brewery. In my opinion, Thornbridge stood out as head and shoulders above the other breweries, a real progressive brewery. Traditional brews lovingly crafted and then cranked up to 11! Beautifully presented too, I love their pump clips. So stylish, understated and timeless. Less of the gushing Thorn-love, on to the ales…Hopton was supremely drinkable golden, English pale ale. Biscuity malt and subtle fresh hops, it slipped down my neck in no time. Seaforth was an outstanding traditional IPA. A great hop profile of English hops and rich toffee malt. My mate Martin was loving it and went back for second helpings. And finally the Big Daddy and my Beer of the Night, Raven! I absolutely loved this! Big fresh hops on the nose, heavenly. The taste is once again of big fresh bitter hops and a soothing edge of deep roasted malt with a hint of liquorice.


Matt’s Picks

I really enjoyed the festival this year. Some great quality beers all around and although Rob has mentioned that Thornbridge pulled out of the bag another quality beer I think it’s unfair to say that they were all that dominant.

Firstly I’ll mention the local favourite of HopZine Saltaire – Hazelnut Coffee Porter. If you’ve followed us on twitter or some of our fellow beer tweeters you would have probably heard about this delicious beer already. If you haven’t tried this yet you really do owe it to yourself to sample it. It was the clear favourite of the Saltaire Beer Festival and I’m sure most people who have tried it will testify to its greatness! Smooth and rich hazlenut and coffee flavours, doing what it says on the tin but doing it well!

Yes, Thornbridge – Raven, the black IPA was really good. Close your eyes and it’s the kind of classy English IPA you’d expect from Thornbridge, open them and you’ll be confused! Appearances can be deceiving but the taste is just hoppy and lovely!

Prospect – Nutty Slack was a really tasty dark mild that deserves its status as a SIBA North Winner. This went down really smoothly, like the Hazelnut Coffee Porter perhaps but without the coffee? I’d highly recommend giving this a try, it’s a real treat!

Hornbeam – Dark Domination was enjoyed by the group but the taste seemed to match the tasting notes of their “Dark & Devine” beer. I wonder if we were mistakenly given the wrong brew here but either way you should check out Hornbeam’s dark offerings! Dark Domination was  a surprisingly fruity dark beer, very warming and full flavoured!

For me the surprise package and the beer I tried twice (almost sacrilegious given the amount of beers available to try) was Hoggleys – Solstice Stout. Like Nutty Slack it had a nut flavour to it but had a really well-balanced stout flavour to it, rich and malty. Hypnotically tasty. If you like your dark beers then I really recommend you try this. I’d have to say that this was my favourite of the evening!

All in all a good night was had, and I was left wondering who won the used toilet brush on the tombola?

All gone!

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