I love my wife Michelle, I will do anything for her. That’s why for her birthday I took her to the 39th annual Peterborough beer festival. To be fair it was a nice day. We stopped off at a beautiful pub called The Plough in Cambridge and had lunch. Michelle decided she was going to write her own blog called “Around the world in 80 Ploughs” where she would travel the world only stopping in places called The Plough. It’s quite ambitious but certainly original.
After Lunch we went to our hotel in Peterborough. The Pearl Hotel is pretty crazy as it’s above a Thai restaurant and it feels as though it’s combined with it. Our room was beautiful though.
We dropped off our stuff and went to the festival. Peterborough itself is pretty mental. The section called The Broadway was pretty rough and we both felt a little intimidated even though it was about 3 in the afternoon. Then you reach the cathedral and the same street turns into a much nicer area with plenty of al fresco dining. It retained it’s edgy side all along the high street though. Plenty of skinny men with their tops off restraining dangerous dogs. It’s kind of like Southend.
The beer festival was O.K. Michelle prefered the Canterbury beer festival and I the Chelmsford festival but we did discover Scorpion Death Chocolate.
That’s right, a chocolate so hot it’s called Scorpion Death and has a printed disclaimer.
Of course there was lots of beers to try. Especially lot’s of foreign bottles.
I was excited about this, but really both Michelle and I would have prefered sitting with a few nice pints of ale than pissing about with half a bottle each of extreme flavours, but that’s what we were here for!
Cairngorm Brewery’s Trade Winds is a Scottish beer laden with awards including Britain’s Champion Best Bitter in 2006. It is very refreshing and easy to drink. It tasted of peach to me and the elderflower which is added to it.
Castle Rock’s Harvest Pale is another Champion Bitter of Britain, incidentally the year after, in 2007. it is flavoured with a blend of U.S. hops, but I didn’t find it that full. It was very light and seemed to have more aroma than flavour, in fact it maybe even seemed a little watered down.
Moorhouse’s Pendle Witches Brew is a very nice, creamy amber beer with plenty of grapefruit coming through. Thoroughly enjoyable but then I do like a Fuggle.
Brasserie de la Senne’s Taras Boulba is a dry beer with a low strength for a Belgian offering. Named after a Russian novel this beer dries your mouth out and has a lot of quinine flavouring that leaves a bitter finish.
Another of Brasserie de la Senne’s offerings Zinnebir is a lot sweeter. Kind of like a honey lager though it’s an ale, it’s caramel sweet with a powerful bitter kick.
Brasserie Dubuisson’s Bush Ambree Triple is a completely different kettle of fish. At 12% it’s a classic challenging Belgian beer. It is smokey and has a syrupy treacle mouthfeel. It tastes clearly strong and to be frank reminded me of Tennants Super.
Brouwerij Het Anker’s Gouden Carolus Classic is a very famous Belgian beer that is so award winning and popular it has a range of beers also bearing the Goulden Carolus name. We found it quite unpleasant though. Sweet and licouricey, it’s quite the acquired taste.
Poperings Hommel Bier is a hoppy little number for a Belgian beer. It’s quite sour but still very drinkable, surprisingly so for it’s 7.5% ABV.
Brasserie Thiriez’s Etoile du Nord is a French brew which is pretty new, first brewed in 2003. The beer pours with a frothy white head. It’s quite cardboardy but not unappealing. It has a long dry, bitter finish.
Where Brasserie Thiriez doesn’t have much history Augustiner-Brau is absolutely steeped in it. First established in 1328 and Munich’s oldest brewery their Lagerbier Helles itself is a couple of hundred years old and it’s lovely. It’s quite lemony and has a bit of hop in there too.
Lindeboom’s Pilsener is another lager over 100 years old. It’s certainly refreshing but we found it unassuming on the verge of being non-descript.
Nøgne Ø’s Imperial Stout was our last beer of the festival. It had a strange tang to it. It was smoky and had licorice tones but Michelle, who is my stout expert, exclaimed it tasted of ashtray water. When she had drunk ashtray water to make this comparison is beyond me.
Last weekend I went to The End Of The Road Festival in Wiltshire. On the way I stopped off at the Hogs Back Brewery in Tongham to pick up a bottle of OTT.
I was pleasantly surprised to find they had a well stocked shop where I picked a few of the beers I am after for my list.
This included Thornbridge’s Kipling. This beer I couldn’t get at Thornbridge’s brewery in Bakewell so it’s quite strange to buy it from another pub. It was the last of the beers I needed from this brewery and I must say they have established themselves as one of my favourites. Kipling itself didn’t disappoint. Titled a South Pacific Pale Ale, this beer which only uses New Zealand’s Nelson Sauvin hops is refreshing, fruity, and pretty much perfect.