The ups and downs of big beer


If it’s 4th July,  it must be the American Beer Festival at the White Horse.

Knowing this pub gets seriously busy even without a special festival on, I decided to take Friday afternoon off to pickle my liver in the sunshine. Bailey was off sick, but Ally and Pete made excellent drinking buddies.

It was difficult to know where to start. Or where to end, for that matter.  With very few offerings under seven per cent, there was just no way I was going to be able to try everything I wanted.

I started with an Arrogant Bastard v Oaked Aged Arrogant Bastard showdown. There was definitely a difference between the two, but you couldn’t really taste oakiness.  Still, it’s the first time I’ve had Arrogant Bastard, and it didn’t disappoint: big body; citrusy crisp hops; and a very pleasant feeling in the throat and belly.

I can’t decide whether the highlight for me was the Dogfish Head 75 minute IPA or the Meantime Porter.  The DH (cask version, no less) was a fruity delight, with mango and pineapple flavours in abundance.  The Meantime Porter (aged in a whisky cask) was like liquid tiramisu.  Both were dangerously drinkable.

My recollection fades a little after this point.  My phone reveals that I thought that the Stone Pale Ale with coriander tasted like carrot cake.

Unfortunately, even though I felt that I was drinking quite moderately, I still ended up feeling very ill at the end of the day.

There’s definitely a place in my life for “extreme beers”, even if my internal organs disagree.  I tasted some truly memorable beers yesterday.  Would I have done it if I’d have known I’d end up throwing up all evening?  Almost certainly.  But it’ll be another year before I tackle that amount of big beer in one go.

The festival continues today and tomorrow.

Beer festival in South London


Hoopers, a pub in South London, have dropped us a line to tell us about their contribution to Cask Ale Week. They’re running a beer festival from today (3 April) through to Monday 13 April. The beer list is here.

We’ve never been to Hoopers, but the standing 50-strong bottled beer list is quite interesting, with everything from Polish porter to sour Belgian efforts.

Any other landlords who want to tell us about interesting beer they’ve got on should feel free to drop us a line.