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Last week was Chelmsford’s Summer Festival, so Dan and I decided to head down on the opening day and check it out. We’ve been to Chelmsford before, for their Winter festival which was held at King Edwards Grammar School earlier this year. In fact you can read about it here.
The Summer festival is held outside, in Admirals Park. The beers are all set in marquees which circle a large outdoor seating area, a really great setting. As mentioned we went on the opening day, Tuesday, and the weather was amazing! The sun shone all day, and was beautifully warm, if not a tad too hot at times.
We got our festival glass for the usual £3, with no entry fee which is nice! The surprising part was there were no beer tokens! Many festivals now don’t use cash inside, but you buy a beer card to purchase drinks with, however this festival was all cash. It didn’t seem to be a problem, but it was not overly busy when we went. We never had to wait for a drink, and the staff were friendly and helpful.
The were over 300 real ales at the festival, along with a large selection of ciders, and also the usual world beer and Belgian bars. The tents had beers listed from A-Z, apart from one which had set stalls from certain breweries in. there were stalls from Wibblers, Crouch Vale, Oakham ales, and more.
As it was the first day, the beer selection was not the best, with almost every pick from the brochure not being on yet. To be expected I guess, but a bit annoying. Saying that we certainly had some good beers which we I will be listing later. The food was also very good, a wide selection of food, hog roasts, bratwurst, fish and chips, along with pies pasties and other such things, and all reasonably priced. The beer were priced well also, between £3.20 and £3.80, and a half was half the price!
The whole feel of the festival was great. Excellent atmosphere and everyone seemed friendly. Could have had slightly more shade, or parasols for rain and shade, but it was glorious weather, and the beer was flowing. So, onto what we tried!
Wibblers – Dengie Dark 3.8% – A lovely dark mild, full of maltyness with a great full body. A new favourite of mine!
Green Jack – Orange Wheat 4.2% – I had this before, but did not remember it like this. No taste of orange or wheaty tones, clear, refreshing, but very average.
Ramsgate – Festi’ale 3.8% – This really was a festival ale. Nice a light, great fruity notes and very refreshing on this hot day.
Otter – Head 5.8% – Strong for a bitter, yet very nice! A dark brown beer with a very dark fruity body. You tell it was a strong bitter, and finished with good bitterness.
Brass Castle – Hazlenut Brown 4.2% – Another dark mild. Nice sweet body, slight nuttyness.
Brentwood – Chockwork Orange rum Extra in Whiskey Cask 7.2% – This was a special beer they had on for the festival. Dan tried the original. This was ok, but far to much whiskey taste. The strong alcohol taste stripped any flavours out of the beer, and was hard to finish.
Round Tower – Stout 7.0% – Very stout like, and very roasty. Doesn’t taste as strong as it is, very good beer.
Indian Summer – Hop and Soul Mocha 4.4% – Smells a lot better than it tastes, a porter with hints of coffee. Average.
Castle Rock – Harvest Pale ale 3.8% – A pale hoppy beer. Full of citrus notes and aroma. An excellent refreshing hoppy ale!
Grain – Year of the Hops: Mount Hood 4.4% – A nice hoppy pale ale, good hope aroma and flavour. Another great hoppy beer.
Wibblers – Cherry Blonde 4.3% – A bad first beer. No cherry flavour, a hint of pink. A very average beer.
Roosters – The Italian Job 4.7% – Advertised as brewed with pepper. Not peppery, and not very nice. Poor ale.
Saffron – Black Jack 3.7% – A mild. A bit weak, not much body. Watery, not the best mild here at all.
Flak Manor – Double Drop 3.7% – Good malty taste with well balanced hops. Absolutely delicious!
Brentwood – Chockwork Orange 6.5% – A good dark beer, hints of orange and chocolate, very nice.
Elephant School – Wheat Odessy 7.0% – This was too strong, and not wheaty. Not a nice IPA, far too bitter.
Mighty Oak – Battle Cruiser 4.3% – A very hoppy light beer. Its good, but not great.
Buffys – Mild 4.2% – Not too dark for a mild, not much body and slightly too bitter.
All in all it was a great day out, more good beers than bad, and a very enjoyable day. The shame was we couldn’t
go back again within the week! Definitely recommend this festival to everyone.
Thanks for reading