St Austell Celtic beer festival


The now annu­al Celtic beer fes­ti­val at St Austell brew­ery is clear­ly a major event in the local social cal­en­dar. Despite the pour­ing rain, peo­ple were wait­ing out­side in the road riv­er for two or more hours to get in.

Inside were labyrinthine cel­lars, a music stage and young folk on the pull – a par­ty atmos­phere more like a night­club than a tra­di­tion­al beer fes­ti­val. We know St Austell can brew, but they can also, most def­i­nite­ly, organ­ise the prover­bial P‑up in a B.

With 35+ St Austell brews plus around a hun­dred from oth­er brew­eries, we could only start to scratch the sur­face, par­tic­u­lar­ly as we had to tra­verse the meat mar­ket to get to the more inter­est­ing ones. We start­ed with our new favourite, 1913 stout. This has already dropped in strength from when we had it last, which is a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ing, but was still tasty, and if this change is a pre­cur­sor to rolling it out to more local pubs as a Guin­ness-chal­lenger, then we’re in favour.

At the more exper­i­men­tal end, Smok­ing Bar­rel was a refresh­ing Rauch­bier; Bad Habit was a superb 8.5% triple; and Hell Up was a very con­vinc­ing Alt Bier. There were also beers for the sweet-toothed West Coun­try palate – High Mal­t­age was a tur­bo-charged HSD, where­as 1851 was a sug­ary, hon­ey­ish pale ale.

As you might expect, every­thing was in per­fect con­di­tion – prob­a­bly the best we’ve ever encoun­tered at a beer fes­ti­val. Korev lager came across real­ly well, even against more exot­ic com­pe­ti­tion, which we put down to fresh­ness.

The only way this fes­ti­val could be improved (for us) would be to have either a qui­et room or even bet­ter, a qui­et day before­hand for beer geeks to taste all the exper­i­men­tal brews. But maybe that would be con­trary to the very essence of this cel­e­bra­to­ry event.

Full dis­clo­sure; we received “VIP” access (cringe) to the fes­ti­val, which got us in for free, and includ­ed a few free pints and grub.

3 thoughts on “St Austell Celtic beer festival”

  1. Sounds excel­lent. Great to hear every­thing was in good nick, too. It was­n’t until Indy­Man this year that it occured to me that it was prob­a­bly the only fes­ti­val where such qual­i­ty had sat right across the board in terms of con­di­tion. Just goes to show, per­haps, the strug­gle that fes­ti­val organ­is­ers face with venues to bring you, the punter, good beer in good nick.

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