Thursday, June 29, 2017

Southampton Beer Festival 2017

All change this year - after many years going to the Guildhall in Southampton (which to my mind is a lovely venue) the local CAMRA branch, faced by a stiff hike in prices from the Guildhall, shifted location to the football stadium (St Mary's) ....hmmm......

Picture from the local rag to give you an idea of the venue - not me by the way - just some other happy punters...
Cue new venue - a large draughty corridor - concrete floor - 'industrial chic'....  the venue is in the access from outside of the stadium to the seating for the fans (note the steps in the roof in the piccie above) - not convivial.... then add in that no food was allowed to be brought in (at a beer festival!) - no pork pies, no pickled onions...  then for reasons known only to themselves they'd got rid of the local ale bar which was one my favourite parts...

Good things? Plenty of tables and chairs... 

My jury's out...  but it ain't looking good.. 

Not a brilliant choice of ales either this year, I thought ..

Brewery Beer (click for
more info)
ABV Notes (from brewery website) What I can remember...
Hop Back Fuggle Stone 4% None - launched on the day.. Hop Back are celebrating 40 years of brewing this year and to celebrate had released a new brew at the festival. Disappointingly, we thought it was a bit flat, but otherwise an un-astounding amber, hoppy bitter.
Bristol Beer Factory Independence 4.6% "Our distinctive American Pale Ale is full of big hop character but without the strong bitterness. Carefully selected American hops are added continuously during the boil, and also during conditioning (dry hopping) to give a really fresh aromatic boost. This beer is mainly about hops but we have given it a malt backbone to balance the beautiful tropical fruit aromas". Now I've been drinking their "Belville Hop" in bottles, so I was keen to see how this one shaped up..  stonking... mahoosive hoppy citrus bitter hit..  lovely!
Southsea Brewing Company Casemate IPA 5.4% None - no website Small company that make beer from their brewery in Southsea Castle (Henry VIII era) - had this at the Petersfield Beer festivsal not long ago where it wa my favourite, but it was in poor condition this afternoon - flat/cloudy
Thornbridge Jaipur 5.9% "A citrus dominated India Pale Ale, its immediate impression is soft and smooth yet builds to a crescendo of massive hoppiness accentuated by honey. An enduring, bitter finish." A premier league beer this one and after the hit and miss of the earlier beers I had two of these...  smashing!
Red Cat Raiona IPA 6.2% "Packed with citra hops on a pale malt base" Taste tested this against the Bristol Beer Factory offering - subtly different - both excellent!


  1. 5.9 & 6.2 %!! That's a serious hit! Cannot understand the no food situation. Pies go hand in hand with beer!

    1. Matt - end of the session, and to be fair they were halves - they had food but not what we wanted to eat other than the nice olive and nuts lady.. probably why they'd banned you bringing your own, to protect the traders profits...??

  2. That sounds a bit disappointing.
    Is the hops, hops and more hops craze taken over there too? Or, worse still, beer with citrus in it?
    The 'boutique mob' here seem to have forgotten what malt is (for)!!

    1. Hi James - the citra hop is king here at the moment - lot of new beers using it and I have to say I'm a fan usually... does give it that slightly citrus/grapefruit bitterness but I like them... traditional bitter - darker/amber and malty - are much rarer....

  3. I enjoy your descriptions of the various beers Steve, I can't really do that, maybe my palette is not as refined as yours :) I do know a good pint when I drink one though, had a lovely pint of 'Golden Shot' at a local pub the other day, only 3.9 a real session ale, so much flavour I really want to go back for more, problem was the barman (and it's a Free House), was so miserable that we could barely understand what he was mumbling, not even a 'Good Afternoon' !

  4. Beer induced smiles if they ever were, jealous.

  5. Well the venue looks more suited to a couple of cans of Tennents lager and half a bottle of sweet sherry. But whats all this about olives and nuts? and even worse citrus notes with a honey backdrop?

    Hoppy, Malty, strong, sweet, dark and pale. That's all the vocabulary needed for a pint, I wouldn't dream of being rude on your blog but I'm with the gent who likes malt and hops that's it.

    Have one for me.

    1. John, the joy of beer is that it's much like wargaming, and indeed wargamers.... it comes in a multitude of flavours..! :-)