Beer… Beer… Glorious Beer!

This is my bratwurst

The 18th Annual Reading Beer & Cider Festival took place this week, from Wednesday evening to Sunday, and I went with my friends Will & Kevin (and later Grace, Megan and Pip) on Friday. We stayed from 2 until 10, ate lots and drank more, taking pictures of most of the food and beer we consumed as we went. Hopefully Will and Kevin will be writing their own posts in the future about their experiences, their favourite beers and foods. Kevin doesn’t really “do” beer, but is a big cider fan, so if you’re a lover of the apple, you too have something to look forward to. I’m going to kick start us with  20 inches of meat and a cockney bitter.

Every year there is a fantastic range of food stalls at the Festival, and the ever-present favourite of mine is Yuleys, selling continental sausages and, this year, a wonderful range of burgers too. Above is the 20″ bratwurst. Actually, the 20″ ones hadn’t defrosted yet, so I had two 10″ sausages in one bun, which created an awkward sausage pivot that resulted in ketchup going up my nose. I should have been more adventurous and tried the curry ketchup, or even the German mustard, but I stuck with tradition. Better to have a red nose than a yellow one, I guess. Yuleys’ have one of those big open fire pits to BBQ their sausages on, and as they’re so popular they have dozens on the go at any one time. As a result, the meat has a delicious smokey crust that doesn’t interfere with the white sausage in the middle. This really is traditional German fare, and as such goes brilliantly well at the Beer Festival.

I paired up my Bratwurst with Diamond Geezer, a bold red beer from By The Horns Brewery, which remarkably had 5 beers at the festival, despite only being set up in the last year. That’s one of the fantastic features of the Reading event – a real emphasis is placed on new breweries and local (LocAle) beers. The beer was certainly malty and packed quite a punch. There was a hoppy finish, which swept away any thoughts about the beer being too heavy, and it cleansed the palate nicely after the bratwurst. I’m not very good at reviewing beers, I’m pretty limited to “hoppy”and “sweet” in terms of terminology, but when there is a beer with a definitive wow or a different flavour entirely, I’ll be sure to point it out. Diamond Geezer wasn’t packed with fruit or anything, it was just… good. A very nice way to start the afternoon. A half pint is shown below. I always get half pints at the festival, so I can try more beers.

If you’re interested in Yuleys bratwurst, they have a bizarre website here, and you can explore the By The Horns Brewery on their website here

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