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Cometh the hour, cometh the beer
The time had arrived; it was the staple of any local beer drinker’s calendar. The Ipswich Beer Festival, celebrating its 30th birthday.
It was the second year the festival was held on the waterfront and I think it has found a natural home. It was fantastic weather across the whole weekend and the outdoor setting added a family friendly and Germanesque feel to the event.
It was free entry all weekend and festival glasses could be obtained on a £3 deposit. I personally chose the half pint one as I thought it was more aesthetically pleasing and yes of course I kept the glass.
At the same time as buying the glass you can purchase beer cards which are tokens for money. Each card has 6 lines of 20p in 2 rows and is worth £6. This was a straightforward method which meant less time handling cash and more time drinking beer. Most half pints cost between £1.50 and £1.70 and double up in price for pints.
With over 180 beers on offer it was difficult to know where to start. So I asked festival volunteer and good friend Dave to recommend me one. I think it was the best method for trying beers. You approach the volunteer and ask for a particular type of beer and from their section they will offer you a taster of one of their preferences.
Alongside the wide selection of beer on offer there were plenty of food stands to wash the beer down with including my particular favourite Yuley’s Bratwurst.
Overall on the weekend I tried 16 beers and many more tasters when I was a volunteer. Below is a comprehensive list of the beers I tried with a description of what I thought of them at the time. Below that is Sam’s itinerary of the weekend.
Ipswich Beer Festival was an absolute joy to attend and a privilege to help out behind the bar. I would like to thank Gary Hale the Festival Organiser for making the weekend a fantastic experience. If you want to hear my interview with Gary, please listen to Pubcask 12 where I also pick out my favourite beers.
Jon’s Comprehensive Beer List
White Boar –Village Brewer, 3.8. Light and refreshing, a good opener that goes down very well.
Blondie – Elvedon Ales, 5.0. Blonde smooth texture with a nice balance of strength and taste, a perfect blonde
Wrens Nest – Howard Town, 4.2. A good light bitter with a tangy flavour with a slight aftertaste but a pleasant drink nonetheless
Blonde – Nook, 4.5. A refreshing generic blonde with hints of elderflower.
Top Totty – Slaters 4.0. Light blonde with no flavour but a nice enough stop gap between beers
Nutty Slack – Prospect, 3.9. An excellent mild. Very dark and nutty, a good fizz and goes down smooth.
Dave – Great Heck, 3.8. Very Malty, tastes stronger than it is. Medium dark with an essence of smoke, very tasty.
Black Rat Stout – Old Chimneys, 4.4. Dark brown head with a nice and creamy fruit based flavour. Great recommendation Gary
Black Gold – Copper Dragon, 3.7. A slight copper taste which is odd for the colour but it makes sense with the name of the brewery. Goes down well but nothing special.
Black Gold – Castle Rock. Dark tasting but goes down easily, A good session beer.
Captain Bill Bartums Anti Imperialist Stout – Bartrums, 6.9. Dark, very strong tasting alcohol like any imperial stout but packed with lots of flavour.
Ripper – Green Jack, 8.5. A strong lighter ale with lots flavour which goes down rather well despite the strength. Fantastic.
Ruby 1874 Mild – Bushys. 3.5. Very smooth with a nice ruby colour. Slightly fruity, goes down well.
Espresso Stout – Dark Star, 4.2. A hint of coffee, very dark in fact more like a spicy dark ale with a nice thickness to it.
Podium Bitter – Brown Cow, 3.9. A bitter taste with a hint of coffee, goes down reasonably well.
Cornish Mutiny – Wooden Hand, 4.8. Very refreshing as it was just put on. Dark brown, cool and easy to drink. Good recommendation Gary.
Sam Ovenall’s Ipswich Beer Festival:
£9 – glass and card
£4 – bratwurst
£5 – Thai food
Green Jack – Orange Wheat
Bank Top – Gold Digger
Skinners – Ginger Tosser
Howard Town – Wrens Nest
Pot Belly – Crazy Daze
Old Chimneys – Black Rat Stout
Castle Rock – Black Gold
Woodfordes – Norfolk Nog
£5 – pies
Uffas – Tipple
Bartrums – Bees Knees
Dove Street Inn – Summer Light Evening
Old chimneys – golden pheasant
Dove street inn – ITFC (blue army) x 2
Green Jack – Ripper
Cross Bay – Sunset
Dark Star – Espresso Stout
George’s – Wallasea Wench
Flipside – Flip Best x 2
Bartrums – Captain Bill Bartrum Anti Imperialist Stout
Hart of Stebbing – Triple S Stout
Crouch Vale – Summer Breeze
Shalford – Rotten End
Dove Street Inn – Oil
Great Newsome – Pricky Back Otchan