With well over 200 cask beers to try during the Steel City Beer & Cider Festival, it’s impossible to try them all even with four days to do it so it usually requires some planning beforehand to make sure you get to sample all the interesting ones. But the best made plans often go astray and we definitely ended up trying a few that weren’t on our original lists! However, with such a great selection on offer as always, it was difficult to go far wrong whatever we chose.
Here are three each of Poppy and Dom’s favourite beers from the festival, in no particular order:
Imperial/Lost Industry/Raw – Let’s Get Ready to Crumble: I often find white stouts a bit sweet, especially when they are dessert-flavoured, but this one was evenly balanced and very palatable. It was my drink of choice behind the bar, and it seemed pretty popular with the people I recommended it to as well, especially our chairman Glyn!
Fat Cat – Bitter: Anyone who knows me knows I’m a bitter girl, and I’m a firm believer you can test the quality of a brewery by the drinkability of their bitter. I “sampled” this beer quite a few times during the festival, and thought it was a good transition between a traditional bitter and a red ale.
HopJacker – Phoenix: I know, it’s another beer from upstairs (the marquee was a long way away, OK!). APA was a style I was first introduced to at the Potteries Beer Festival a few years ago and I quite enjoy the mellower flavour compared to an IPA. This one was a good example of the style and it was a nice introduction for visitors I spoke to who hadn’t tried APAs before.
Kirkstall – Black Band Porter: After a bit of a tumble (if you were anywhere near the cider bar on Saturday afternoon, you’ll know what I mean!) I needed something to calm my nerves and this porter did just the trick. Flavours of chocolate and caramel came to the fore in this wonderfully smooth and tasty dark ale.
Steel City – Black Cascade: I’ve always been a fan of black IPAs and I thought this one was a great example. The style has gone out of fashion a bit lately, but personally I have always enjoyed the combination of hop bitterness and the slightly sweet, roasted flavours of the dark malt. If I didn’t have a rule not to drink the same beer twice, I would have gone back for a second pint!
Anthology – Dry Hopped Pale Citra/Mosaic: Luckily there was some of this beer for the staff take down on Saturday evening as I had somehow missed it during the week. This unfined beer had a rather milky appearance and a fantastically fruity hop aroma. The Citra and Mosaic hops both offered distinctive flavours and combined well to make a wonderfully drinkable beer.