Cambridge Winter Ale Festival 2012

Today is the third and final day of the 16th Cambridge Winter Ale Festival. The festival takes place in the University Social Club on Mill Lane, with a great selection of over 100 beers and ciders available in both the upstairs main bar and downstairs back bar, including lots of locally-brewed ales. I went to the festival on Thursday and Friday – it’s a very popular event and was therefore packed out –  and am going back again today; there are a few beers I still want to try. Here is a run-down of some of the beers I have tried so far:

Hopshackle Flinders (when I was sitting under green lights!)

Hopshackle Flinders (when I was sitting under green lights!)

Hopshackle Flinders, 4.8% – A wonderfully light and hoppy straw-coloured ale full of flavour. Very tasty and moorish. Great brewery. More of their beers to follow..

Hopshackle Marillo, 3.8% – Another light and hoppy beer, but not as moorish as the Flinders but also not as strong. A dominant citrus taste and aroma. Very easy drinking.

Hopshackle Historic Porter, 4.8% – Mmmmm berries, lots of them. Berries and dark bitter chocolate. Beautiful.

Hopshackle Smoked Porter, 5.2% – Now we’re talking. Absolutely delicious, my beer of the festival so far. Like drinking an open fire – smooth, warming, smoky, comforting, chocolate (not bitter). Lovely.

Redemption Urban Dusk, 4.6% – Love this beer. Its caramel malt flavours shine through. Very smooth, quite smoky actually, and slight hop flavours present.

Redemption Big Chief, 5.5% – Hazy, but tasty. Golden/orange colour, tropical hops dominate – @pintsandpubs summed it up nicely when he said it was like drinking alcoholic lilt!

Mauldon’s Black Adder, 5.3% – ‘Ooooh’ was the noise that came out of my mouth when I took my first sip of this wonderful stout. Rich, bitter, nutty, full flavoured. Loved it.

Dark Star Milk Stout, 4.5% – Very very sweet and rich, lovely roast malt flavours. Lots of flavour.

Downton Chimera IPA, 6.8% – Strong tasting IPA, hoppy, rich and resinous with floral flavours. Tasty.

Downton Baltic Red, 4.2% – A chestnut coloured premium bitter that smells of sesame oil, and tasted of it too. Not in a particularly unpleasant way; just slightly unusual. Not sure if I enjoyed it or not.

Pictish Porter, 4.4% –  A very nice smoky flavour, but slightly thin in the mouth. Easy to knock back, if you want a porter you can just knock back. There was no comparison when I did a head to head with this and the Hopshackle Historic Porter. I prefer a richer flavour myself.

Blue Monkey BG Sips – Similar to the Hopshackle Marillo, but with a slightly fuller flavour and unidentified underlying fruit that I thought was perhaps pineapple..? Very smooth in the mouth. Tasty.

Big Chief, BG Sips & Historic Porter

Big Chief, BG Sips & Historic Porter (almost gone)

That’s it for now. Another great festival – well organised (new management this year as well) with friendly, helpful service. Off there again soon to try some more beers, hopefully the Rogue Chatoe OREgasmic from Oregon in the US will be on draft; one of my favourite breweries in the world. See you there maybe.

Published in: on January 21, 2012 at 11:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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