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CAMRA Lunesdale

A Firkin great selection...

George Palmer searches for superlatives to describe this year’s Hawkshead Summer Beer Festival

It just gets betterer and betterer. Each year the Hawkshead beer festival exceeds previous achievements and this year was no exception. The twenty seven travel weary and beer thirsty pilgrims would attest to this at the end of their trip in Old Smelly (the coach that is) ably piloted by the newly engaged Rich.

This year boasted three bars sporting the seventy one listed beers from what seemed to be miles of gleaming handpulls. Just think about it: if you had a pint of each, not only would you be in desperate need of the loo, but you would have drunk a whole firkin of ale (Normally takes me a week, at least). Now before you clever people out there claim to have spotted the deliberate mistake — WAIT!

All the beers I tasted were in superb condition. The Dark Star Victorian Mild (6%) was full of rich treacle flavours, the impossibly named Black IPA (5%) from Windsor and Eaton was fruity, dry and floral whilst Acorn Gorlokva (6%) was packed with flavours. Even the paler and lower ABV examples were all reported to be excellent.

There was one beer that defied description, beer number 72, and not listed. Nose and taste revealed probably the most complicated and well balanced beer around. The breadth and depth of flavours were unimaginable, rich, dark and delicious. This was Brodie’ Special Reserve (8.5%), matured for nine months in a Bladnoch (Scotland’s most southerly distillery) whisky cask. If there is a better beer to be had, PLEASE tell me and open the gates of heaven again.

At the outside bar area, The Curragh Sons entertained with their innovative electric folk set. It may have been my beer fuddled imagination, but I’m sure they played the Wild Rover to the tune of Ghost Riders in the Sky.

Roll on next year, let’s see how our hosts can improve on this year’s spectacular. Yippee Eye Aye, Yippee Eye Oh.