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Following an enjoyable experience last year, we returned once again to Colchester for their winter ale festival. Taking place in the dark surroundings (apt considering many of the beers!) of the Arts Centre, this festival is one I’d advise anyone in the area to have a look at. Especially if you are willing to discover new beers.
The key reason I make the above point is that the strength of this festival is in the volunteers. Yes, most festivals have volunteers but not many festivals have volunteers so willing to chat away to you and advise you on beer choices. Volunteers willfully offer tasters and ensure local ale and events are promoted. Other than Susie, I am afraid I can’t remember names but thank you to all who we engaged with – you are all superb and make Colchester CAMRA the great organisation it is. I would like to offer a special thank you to the gentlemen who sorted out the member of our party who required a chair following an overly enthusiastic visit to the Belgian bar… We apologise unreservedly for the inconvenience and wish to stress it was uncharacteristic of my good friend.
Once again, the beer list was strong in both ABV and quality. It was just such a shame to attend on a final day where a lot had gone. In the week leading up to the festival, I wrote a list of 26 beers I would consider trying on the day; Saturday lunchtime only 11 of those were left! How I envy those of you who reside in Colchester! I should also say that is still ever so slightly disappointing that thirds aren’t offered; especially with the amount of strong beer but then again – samples are offered and I understand the desire to shift the beer.
Pricing was once again good – with the most expensive half on the day being £2.50 for a 9% beer. Perfectly reasonable.
Okay so the beers tried were –
Casual Stout from Abstract Jungle – Rather textbook, but in good condition.
Papa Steve Imperial Stout from Bexar – Very boozy at 9%. Not outstanding – but I did have the last half from the cask.
Death in a sea of mediocrity from Bexar – A strong golden ale. Hoppy and sweet.
AH64 from Bartrams – Similar to the above beer but with slightly more drinkability. Probably beer of the day.
18 Carrot Gold from Moonshine – Brewed with carrots! – A sweet copper coloured ale. Sweet with very pleasant aroma.
Black Buzzard Porter from Leighton Buzzard – Surprise beer of the day. A lovely smokey porter.
Oberon from Harwich – Foul. So glad I sampled. I have never actually enjoyed a beer from Harwich…
East Coast Mild from Waveney – A lovely sweet mild.
Winter Ash from Grain – A sweet candy taste. Not bad.
1850 Porter from Mile tree – A good benchmark porter.
So overall, another good daytime trip to Colchester. Thanks again to the volunteers who make this festival a good one.