This is your time to try something truly different to the Ocean cheese-whiff or getting lost in Gatecrasher. Even if you don’t like ale, you must get yourself to the beautiful surroundings of Nottingham Castle for the Nottingham beer festival. With over 600 ales, 100 ciders and 25 different wines, there is a drink out there for everyone. Tickets only cost £10 and there is a commemorative glass and two beer tokens included in the price. Don’t worry about beer snobs, the atmosphere is really chilled out and everyone is friendly.
First off I tried ‘Dubble Fokker’ from the Yorkshire Dales Brewery. Though I am not a fan of strong dark ales, I found it rich and surprisingly tasty. Green Dragon IPA caught my eye next, from Kirkby Lonsdale brewery. This had a very nutty taste, but retained the smoothness of an IPA. My friend chose ‘Lime-a-ted Edition’; this was an extremely unusual ale. As the name suggests, it has a lime aroma, like a lot of beers at the festival. The taste of limes was very overpowering, a bit like a flat Corona with lime cordial instead of a wedge. This may be to some tastes, but not mine!
The food available at the festival is varied and all of it is great quality and pretty reasonably priced. The stilton pork pie I had was great, and a steal at £2. The other food varied from fresh seafood to a hog roast. The vegetarian curry near the live band is worth a try.
After wasting valuable drinking time on food, we marched back up to the beer tent. Next up was ‘Super Dave’ beer from the Great Heck brewery. It warned me on the keg that it was extremely dark, but I wouldn’t listen. It was probably the most strong and dark ale I have ever had, despite having a low alcohol content. In fact, it tasted a little bit like soil. It was definitely time for a fruity beer. Orange wheat beer from Cathedral brewery promised so much, but delivered only a tiny bit of an orange aftertaste, nonetheless, a great beer; just a little bit disappointing. The last beer that I can remember trying was ‘Blueberry thrill’ from the Caledonian brewery. Christ, this was a mind-blowing concoction. Usually I am not a massive fan of fruity ales, but this delivers the right amount of my favourite fruit, balanced with a well rounded hoppy taste. Definitely a must-try!