This is a compararable festival to the champions league, each region of the UK has its best beers put forward to fight it out in various categories for the SIBA gold medal, the best beer of the entire festival then being given the prestigious top SIBA award.
Halves range from £1.30 – £1.50 with NO CAMRA discount.
Thornbridge Kipling has been steamrollering pretty much everything recently and to be quite honest rightly so, but not tonight, the Kipling on offer was a good to average beer that left its self open to the competition, fortunately for Thornbridge the rest of the strong bitters category where of a similar dissapointing ilk; all failing to impress having tried the lot other than the Cairngorm – Wildcat (5.1%), that seemed to have been off from the word go. Kipling then will no doubt get this category victory but perhaps a little cheaply, regardless on the night it was in our opinion the best strong bitter.
The top award however? well, this is where the current Nottingham Beer Festival champion (and others!) is left trailing in some fashion, Salopian – Prohibition (4.6%) with its wonderful fresh citrusy grapefruit feel and a sublimely dry finish was in a different class and surely in with a good shout to top the premium bitters as well as the festival champion, closely followed by Dorset Brewing Company – Ammonite (3.8%) a full bodied pint with a lot of depth that belies its alchol content, a shoe in we reckon for the bitters & pale ales up to 4.0% category, a nod also due to a speciality beer Coach house brewing Co – Blueberry classic bitter (5.0%) beers like this can usually go one of two ways, crap, or great, it went the latter.
We are far from done though as things could change tomorrow night, we have had most, but not quite all of the beers so far!