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Campaigning for good beer in good pubs in north Lancashire and the Ingleborough area

CAMRA Lunesdale

Water Witch Beer & Cider Festival

August Bank Holiday week-end 2007

Report of the tasting team

Seven members attended the festival on the first night (Thursday 23rd August) and 19 beers were sampled. Each ale was rated on the basis of CAMRA‘s national scoring scheme, which has a range of 0 - 5. The lowest score was achieved by Everard‘s Sunchaser, a guest ale but not actually included in the tasting notes brochure, which was given 2 and described as “oily, sticky and bland.”

All the others scored well, the majority gaining 3.5 or above. The favourites were:

Jaipur (Thornbridge)
a 5.9ABV light golden coloured ale “with a kick to it, bursting with flavour, predominantly dry and hoppy, which is unusual for a beer of this gravity.” Said one team member: “You can chew on it.” Another described it as “beautifully brewed and finely crafted,” while another pronounced it “brilliant.” (4.7)
Moondance (Triple FFF)
one time Champion Best Bitter of Britain. “A lovely fragrant nose, with an initial impression of softness on the palate. Then the hops kick in and there is a lingering hoppy after taste . Very more-ish.” (4.5)
Original Porter Stout (O‘Hanlon‘s)
A 4.8 ABV “wonderfully-rounded stout with great roasted malt flavour. Suits a black coffee drinker.” (4.7)

Additional comments

The team thought that the “theme” of the festival — champion and prize wining beers — was imaginative in that it almost guaranteed a wide-ranging selection of first rate ales, which in fact was what we got. Mild, porter, wheat and fruit-flavoured styles were all represented, together with, of course, a host of bitters.

The sole lager on the menu was well received by at least one member of the panel, who noted: “The pleasantly aromatic Wylam Bohemia Pilsner was well-produced and well-balanced. The first cask lager I‘ve really liked.” It scored 4 out of 5.

As well as welcoming the sheer variety of interesting brews on offer, the team were glad to see that the majority (14) were in the 3.6 to 4.2 ABV range, making it possible for drinkers to enjoy quite a number in the course of a session.

Media and Publicity Officer Julian Holt, said “This was a most enjoyable, successful fest in a great canal-side setting. Mitchell‘s and the Water Witch management are to be congratulated on their imaginative approach to beer choice. There was something for everyone here.”

There was one note of criticism concerning the serving temperature and condition of some of the ales being served on the festival bar, with several members describing them as “just a little bit warm and a little bit flat.” This is something that the organisers of the next festival need to address.

Tasting team members

Martin Sherlock, Jenny Greenhalgh, Dorothy Smith, Ann Tanner, Peter Livesley, Bob Smith, Julian Holt.