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I had heard great things about the inaugural Mid-Anglia beer festival last year so I was desperate to attend this one. Over the past few months, I had been thinking of ways to get to this beer festival via public transport. The festival organisers it should be noted were running a shuttle bus from Diss Rail Station to Yaxley. Fantastic news if you live on the Norwich – London rail line. However for myself living in Beccles which is only 30 minutes away, it looked rather tricky and I resigned myself to giving this one a miss. This became a real disappointment for me when I saw the published beer list last week!
But fortune came my way on Friday evening when one of my wife’s friends suggested meeting us there for the day. They had been made aware of the festival because I message via facebook friends with information on festivals happening in East Anglia. This was quite the stroke of luck as my wonderful wife was happy (I think) to be the designated driver for the day.
Our friends brought their dog with them to the festival. Unfortunately due to rules in the village hall we couldn’t bring the dog inside but with fairly warm weather we were more than happy to sit outside and enjoy the wonderful beer list. It should at this point be noted that the volunteers were all excellent. Friendly, engaging and welcoming throughout.
It cost £2.50 to get in(free to CAMRA members). £2.50 for a festival glass and beer cards were £10. The beer list in my opinion was very strong. I borrow now (without hopefully causing any offence) the beer list below. Naturally of course there were a few alterations.
MAULDONS MICAWBERS MILD 3.5%☐
A dark mild brewed with 100% Amarillo hops
ST PETERS BEST 3.7%☐
Traditional full bodied ale with fruity caramel
WOLF GOLDEN JACKAL 3.7%☐
Hoppy, thirst- quenching golden bitter.
GREEN JACK GOLDEN BEST 3.8%☐
Bitter, hoppy and refreshing.
GRAIN 3.1.6. 3.9%☐
Ludicrously light, brewed with lager malt.
GOLDEN TRIANGLE CITROPOLIS 3.9%☐
Citra and cascade hops give a zesty, refreshing
OLD CHIMNEYS HAIRY CANARY 3.9%☐
Lemon and ginger flavours.
WOLF ALE 3.9%☐
Copper coloured full bodied ale with bite!
MILL GREEN LOVELYS FAIR 4.0%☐
Mill Greens first ever brew, golden and pale.
ELMTREE BITTER 4.2%☐
Well balanced, copper coloured crisp beer.
GRAIN BEST BITTER 4.2%☐
A malty, traditional amber ale.
MAD OLD JOHN 4.2%☐
A classic English old ale.
BLONDE BOMBSHELL 4.2%☐
A smooth, well balanced golden bitter
WAVENEY WELTERWEIGHT 4.2%☐
Very drinkable, amber session beer.
BUFFYS POLLY’S FOLLY 4.3%☐
Amber bitter, fresh flowery aromas, caramel
CLIFF QUAY CLIPPER 4.3%☐
Glorious hoppy pale ale with sweet malty flavours.
BARRELL & SELLERS
SPECIAL PALE ALE 4.4%☐
First gold single hop, festival special.
GRAIN YEAR OF HOPS
Wakatu hops from NZ give a lime citrus flavour
with a biscuit bite.
GREEN DRAGON GOLD 4.4%☐
Golden ale with citrus aromas.
WAVENEY SUGAR RAY 4.4%☐
Occasional brew with added French honey.
SCARLET TIGER 4.7%☐
Ruby coloured full bodied. Malty and fruity.
GREEN JACK LURCHER 4.8%☐
Fruity and chocolatey rich stout.
BLACKBERRY PORTER 4.8%☐
Full bodied porter with a sweet, fruity finish.
GRAIN REDWOOD 4.8%☐
A rich red premium bitter.
GREEN JACK RISING SUN 5.0%☐
A clean, refreshing beer with Brewers Gold hops.
HOXNE PLUM PORTER 5.4%☐
A solid porter, with plums!
GREEN JACK GONE FISHING 5.5%☐
A strong, fruity and malty, deep amber ESB.
GUNNERS DAUGHTER 5.5%☐
A complex mix of hoppy, fruity, bitter yet sweet
HOP LOBSTER 5.5%☐
3 local malts, 5 American hops. No lobsters.
ELMTREE NIGHTLIGHT 5.7%☐
Strong mild, liquorice hints, nutty finish.
GRAIN SLATE 6.0%☐
A deep dark, rich smoked porter.
GRAIN INDIA PALE ALE 6.5%☐
Strong, hoppy and full bodied.
Full flavoured barley wine with citrus aftertaste.
MILL GREEN CALAIS STREET 7.1%☐
A superb and unique taste.
RED ADMIRAL 11.0%☐
Limited edition brew to celebrate 20 years
So before I summarise what I enjoyed I should also share what my friend Ben enjoyed. A fan of hoppy beers; he went away having thoroughly enjoyed Hop Lobster and Citropolis both from Golden Triangle and loved Redwood from Grain, a beer I strongly recommended to him.
Here in brief are the beers I tried, it must be stressed that I wasn’t disappointed with any of them:
Mauldons, Micawbers Mild: A fantastic flavoursome mild
Old Chimneys, Scarlet Tiger: Far from scarlet, very strong and fruity.
Mauldons, Blackberry Porter: A personal favourite, manages to be a sweet beer yet isn’t sickly as it sustains a beeriness for want of a better word.
Green Jack, Rising Sun: A textbook golden. Very crisp and refreshing.
Hoxne, Plum Porter: Rich with an obviously dark plum taste to it.
Old Cannon, Gunners Daughter: A real mix. Fruity and sweet yet hoppy.
Elmtree, Nightlight Mild: My favourite Mild in the world. Strong (5.7%) and liquoricey.
Grain, Slate: Perhaps my favourite porter. Dark and rich yet far from overbearing.
Buffys, 9x: Not on the original beer list. A strong 9% barley wine. Similar to Green Jack’s Ripper.
Old Chimneys, Red Admiral: A beast at 11%. A good barley wine but perhaps not the beer to finish my evening on!
So I went away from the festival not only inebriated but thoroughly satisfied with my experience. Food at the evening was also reasonably priced. Burgers, Hot Dog, Chilli and Curry with nothing costing more than £4.50. I opted for the chilli which was very spicy and perfectly adequate.
The festival was fairly well attended. Definitely worth a look if you can get to it.