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CAMRA Lunesdale

Report on visit to Furness College Real Ale and Cider Festival

Comments on individual beers

Timothy Taylor, Ram Tam
(4.3 %ABV) Rather bland compared to experience of drinking it in earlier times. Wasn’t the ABV nearer 5 at one time? Good condition. (On hand pump). Scored 3.5
Timothy Taylor, Golden Best
(3.5%) In very good form. Great to find a true light mild at the festival: bursting with flavour for its strength, and in fine condition. (On hand pump). 4
Timothy Taylor, Landlord
(4.3%) Very good condition and temperature. (On hand pump ). 4.
Adnams, Broadside
(4.7%) Excellent condition. Fruity, complex, warming. Difficult to imagine this being presented in better condition. (On hand pump). 5
Coach House, Ginger Nut
(5%) Felt that the ginger/hop balance wasn’t right, in that the ginger was over-dominant. Beer was flattish and could have done with being dispensed via a sparkler. 2
Coach House, Raspberry
(5%) An ale with real potential if served as intended (i.e. cool and well carbonated), which this wasn’t. If served through a hand pump and sparkler we could imagine this scoring 4. As it was: 2
Harviestoun, Bitter and Twisted
(3.8%) Stood up well to being served on tap, in that, as with all hoppy beers, this method of dispense serves to foreground bitterness. Temperature fine. 3
Bear Town, Ginger Bear
(4%) Unlike the Coach House brew, the ginger in this one was balanced and the overall effect very pleasing. Temperature fine. 4
Wickwar, Station Porter
(6.1%) “Very nice indeed, but not one to stay on all night!” Tasting notes were pretty accurate, but blowed if we could detect the coffee aroma. 4

General comments

We went up on the Friday evening and the place was absolutely packed, with long queues for both handpulled and direct dispense beers, and a crush of punters completely filling all available space. This rather affected the enjoyment.

It also struck us that many of the beers on offer were generally available in many outlets. Having said that, the list offered some gems: Taylor’s Golden Best, Nethergate Umbel Magna, Sharp’s Doom Bar and Wickwar’s Station Porter, for example.

The staff were friendly and helpful and top-ups were given automatically, without having to be asked for.

The management are to be congratulated on once again putting on an event that attracted so many young punters, offering the delights of a varied selection of ales and ciders to a new generation of drinkers. On the issue of dispense, we are well aware of the problems posed by having to make available so many real ales at one time. Most of the beers tried were well-kept and in good condition. The fact remains, however, that ales intended for dispense via a tight head sparkler tend to lose both condition and original flavour when served straight from the cask.

Overall rating

Enjoyment:2.5 (A factor here was the crush at the venue. Beer festivals at The Graduate Bar attract huge numbers, too, but the numbers are better managed.)

Promotion of quality beer: 4*

(*Though as one of our number added, “For getting a positive message across to young people about real ale, I’d give it 6 out of 5!”, a view echoed by the others.)

NB The scoring system used is the CAMRA National Beer Scoring Scheme as detailed on the survey cards.

Final note

The official programme for the festival carried, among other illustrations, the CAMRA logo, thus implying that the event was CAMRA organised and/or sponsored. It wasn’t, and the logo should not have been used.

Julian Holt (on behalf of Lunesdale Branch tasting team)