Wigan Beer Festival is back (3rd – 5th March), in its usual home at Robin Park Sports Centre. There will be 80+ real ales, traditional ciders and a foreign beer bar. The provisional beer list was published this week. As usual, there will be a courtesy shuttle bus running at regular intervals from The Anvil to the festival and acres of space on one level and entry and beer prices reasonable; so what’s not to like.
I tend to use festivals to find breweries and beers new to me and below are eight I shall seek out.
All Gates (Wigan) – California Mango – 3.8%
No apologies for choosing our own beer here, but it will be a first try for me not from either FV or CT. Brewed especially for this Festival, it’s our best-selling brew California, but with a twist; 15kg of fresh pureed mangoes added to the brew at the conditioning stage. We also have Old Boston Plum Porter on the bar.
Hornes (Woburn, Bucks) – Triple Goat IPA 5.0%
Hornes is a new Micro-brewery established by Ryan Horne in March 2015, based in the village of Bow Brickhill, near Woburn, on the Buckinghamshire/Bedfordshire border. Completely new brewery to me but worth a punt.
Intrepid (Hope Valley, Derbyshire) – Mother’s Bruin 4.3%
This beer was originally brewed in collaboration with Sheffield food & drink bloggers ‘Mashtun & Meow’, it’s a gin inspired brown beer brewed with Belgian yeast, Belgian Malt and Juniper berries.
The name of the beer is a reference to gin being nicknamed ‘Mothers Ruin’ & the Belgian ‘Bruin’ style of brown ale. It was launched at the Beer Engine, Sheffield on 10th February with a cask versus keg event. Their suggested food pairing for the beer; courgette & halloumi fritters with cardamon & lime sour cream. Good luck with that in Wigan!
Jaw Brew (Glasgow) – Surf 4.3%
Jaw’s first ales launched at the Glasgow Real Ale Festival in June 2014, and encouraged when one of their ales was the first to run out at the festival, they entered the SIBA Scotland Region Competition in November 2014 where they won two Silver Awards. They operate stalls and bars at markets, events and festivals in and around the Glasgow area, and it’s not often their beers get down this way. Surf is described as a Hefeweizen style with lots of zesty lemons and some banana and cloves – that’s it! Worth a try!
North Riding (East Ayton, N. Yorkshire) – Chocolate Porter 5.3%
N. Riding commenced brewing four years ago from the cellar of the North Riding Brew Pub in Scarborough moving to larger premises in March 2015. Since first sampling Stuart Neilson’s beers a couple of years ago I have become a big fan, big! Perhaps best known for his range of pale ales; Cascade, Mosaic and Citra amongst them, on offer here is Stuart’s full bodied chocolate porter using chocolate malt in the mash, cocoa in the boil and more chocolate in the fermenter. It’s not often his beers make it to this side of the Pennines; go get it whilst it’s here.
Sirencraft Brew (Finchampstead) – Proteus Pale Ale: Vol 1 – 4.0%
I am a huge fan of Sirencraft beers, huge, and as for the Proteus series details of it are all here: http://www.sirencraftbrew.com/proteus-pale-ale-series/ Vol. 1 is brewed with loads of Motueka, Amarillo and Citra hops, so what’s not to like.
Torrside (New Mills) – I’m Spartacus 6.0%
This is a brewery that Jim of Beers Manchester whose opinion I hugely respect, has been saying really good things about. To-date I have not tried any of their beers, so here’s my and your chance. I’m Spartacus is described as a US IPA with an aroma/taste of peach and apricot, juicy fruit and hops. Also at the festival is, multi-national; 4.7%, described as an ambitiously global red ale, hopped with Columbus, Motueka, Sorachi Ace and Junga. Update 13.2.16 – I’m told the latter has been swapped for their rauchbier Franconia.
Totally Brewed – Slap in The Face 4.0%
I am a big fan of Totally Brewed beers and may have a scoop of two of this but I have tried many of their offerings previously. But for anyone who hasn’t this Nottingham beaut is worth seeking out, period! It’s a hoppy blonde ale, with Summit, Cascade and Chinook. Refreshing tangerine, pomegranate and grapefruit flavours.
Wild Beer (Evercreech, Somerset) – Bibble 4.2%
Bibble (Somerset dialogue, meaning to drink regularly) is a fabulous everyday brew, and one of my go to beers when on cask. Brewed with Vienna malt and oats and hopped with the fabulous Mosaic, renowned for its tropical fruit aromas and helped along with some nice orangey Amarillo. Unfined, so it’s naturally hazy. Just fabulous stuff! Wild Beer also have at the festival – III (Barley Wine 9.0%).