On the road Reviews

Frocester Beer Festival 2015 – The Review!

Regular readers will know that the Frocester beer festival is one of the highlights of our hectic, booze-soused calendar. Attendance is obligatory, and despite the inevitable hangover that will ruin our eagerly anticipated fried breakfast the following morning, we return each year.

If you’d like a rubbish analogy, we are like the rats of Hamelin, dancing to the tune of the squeaking barrel taps before flinging ourselves head-first into a river of booze. Well, more like a trickling stream of booze, but like I said, it’s a rubbish analogy.

Along with the vast selection of beers and ciders on offer (I’ll get to these in a bit), Frocester always hosts an eclectic roster of musical acts to listen to whilst engaging in pint-to-mouth activities. Highlights of this year included: a bloke on a piano playing chart topping favorites; two blokes with guitars playing chart topping favourites; a collection of blokes with instruments playing chart topping favourites; and then what I thought was the best cover band I’d EVER heard – until someone pointed out a DJ spinning records on the stage*

New to this years FBF, aside to a ‘craft beer’ section (a small bar with a fine array of kegged beer from the likes of Purity, Revisionist and others I can’t remember) and the advent of plastic (!) glasses, was the attendance of Nick’s mate, Adam.

Adam plays for Jamma de Samba – Bath’s premier Samba band – and his ability to pound drums is matched only by his ability to talk non-stop for extraordinary lengths of time – a useful skill to have on call to help haul the rest of the drinking party out from mid afternoon beer fatigue and to push on to the evening booze session.

Adam also brought along an extensive knowledge of hangover cures – his favorite routine of which we can exclusively reveal below:

  1. Drink copious boozes.
  2. Return home (or in this case, return to tiny, badly pitched tent in a field a bit too close to the M5).
  3. Drink coconut water (1 glass).
  4. Imbibe the contents of one rehydration sachet (dissolved in one glass of lukewarm water) .
  5. Sleep. (In this case, fitfully, due to heroic sub-woofer snoring coming from a neighboring tent**).
  6. Awake from slumber.
  7. Consume a breakfast consisting of coffee, a glass of ginger beer and a banana.
  8. Perform three press-ups in preparation for a frenetic samba session (this step is optional).

Now whilst he didn’t exactly bounce out of the tent the next morning, primed and ready to beat the crap out of a pair of cuicas, he was certainly in better condition than many of the wasted shapes that were shuffling round the campsite nursing hot coffee and heavy headaches – myself included.

As always, it was difficult to choose favourites from the boozes we sampled – not least because our normally astute beer selection skills seemed to magically disintegrate the longer the day wore on.

We did our best though. Here are our top fives.

Nicks Top Five Beer Fest Boozes (In no particular order)

Ascot Ales
Anastasia’s Exile Stout
Good coffee and bitter chocolate flavours. Drier than many stouts but super smooth.
Web: www.ascot-ales.co.uk
Twitter: @ascotales

Langham Brewery
Best Bitter
An old school brown beer with thin, frothy head, gentle bittering and subtle hedgerow fruitiness.
Web: www.langhambrewery.co.uk
Twitter: @LanghamBrewery

Ilkley Brewery
Mary Jane
One of two deliciously easy drinking beers from this brewery (the other being Joshua Jane). Full of American hop flavours it was a perfect post-curry thirst quencher.
Web: www.ilkleybrewery.co.uk
Twitter: @ilkleybrewery

Peerless Brewing
Viking Gold
Towards the lighter end of the gold spectrum but high on hoppiness. Summery hop flavours and a long bitter finish.
Web: www.peerlessbrewing.co.uk
Twitter: @PeerlessSteve

Purity Brewing
Longhorn IPA
My pick of the new craft bar offerings. Light and dry with good grapefruit hoppiness and a touch of the tropics.
Web: http://puritybrewing.com
Twitter: @Purityale

Richs Top Five Beer Festival Boozes (In order of greatness)

Beer of the festival for me, but the splendid suppage came to a premature end when I dropped most of it (glass and all) on the floor. Floral, spicy and delicious while it lasted.
Web: www.inveralmond-brewery.co.uk
Twitter: @InveralmondBeer

Dark Island
Dark fruits undercut with a hint of chocolate. Lovely.
Web: www.sinclairbreweries.co.uk
Twitter: @Orkneybrewery

Neil Styles
Local Brew (Cider)
Rammed with mouth-scrunching Gloucestershire tannins giving way to strong apple booziness. Head and shoulders above the rest we sampled. (And we sampled a lot)
Web: Yes. Plenty in the barn where it’s made.
Twitter: Come again?

Red Hunter
A fine chestnut coloured ale, malty and moreish.
Web: www.hammerpot-brewery.co.uk

Dancing Duck
Nice Weather
A splendid summer ale, packed with red fruity flavours. A ‘quacking’ pint of booze.
I’ll get my coat…
Web: www.dancingduckbrewery.com
Twitter: @dancingduckbeer

A week on, and the hangover is but a distant memory. Here’s to another successful Frocester. Cheers!

* Our pal Rory. Who slept like a lion.

** I say ‘spinning records’, but I suspect he was just making scratchy motions with his hands after pressing play on an iPod.



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