Well… it’s just all about the beer, really

Run, Lion, Run!

Hands up who likes beer? Yep? Good. This is a post purely about the sweet alcoholic nectar of life. Above is a beer called Ginga Ninja from a brand new brewery, Vibrant Forest from Totton, Hampshire. Like a brewery I mentioned earlier, Vibrant Forest was set up in the last year and, remarkably, had three very different beers at the festival. This one, as you would expect from the name, is brewed with stem ginger. Ginger is not a hugely common ingredient in ale, though there were quite a few at the festival that had been made with it, and the taste was certainly there. Not the kick that I had been promised by the tasting notes in the Festival Programme, but certainly enough to grab my attention. Very pleasant. Just to prove to you that this is really how they spell ginger down in Totton, here’s the keg:

Wolf Brewery, from Besthorpe in Norfolk, has been creating quality ales since 1995. Some have quite interesting names like “Edith Cavell” or “Granny Wouldn’t Like It!”, but I went for the “Battle of Britain”, a copper coloured ale at a healthy 3.9%. Wolf have probably had to be careful, as Shepherd Neame’s Spitfire ale, much more widespread nationally, has the tagline The Bottle of Britain, and has had for quite a while. Still, there’s not much point comparing the two as Shepherd Neame are far too big a brewery to be at the Reading Festival, and the Wolf ale wasn’t as bitter as Spitfire. A very nice full-bodied ale, and the appropriate pics showing the beer and the label are provided below.

The final beer that I have a picture of (there were many more that went unphotographed) is from another new brewery, South Downs, although the tasting notes tell us that the beer was actually brewed at the Kent Brewery. No matter, the beers they were both producing are different enough, and both breweries were set up in 2011. The South Downs is now Britain’s newest and largest National Park, so it only seems fitting to have a new local brewery using the name. I went for Ruskin’s Ram, the bitter (they also make a pale ale and a porter). Having read the tasting notes I expected to get hints of vanilla and elderflower, and I certainly got vanilla. I don’t really know the flavour of elderflower well enough to detect it in a beer, elderflower cordial wasn’t a constant presence in my childhood despite growing up in Kent. Still, a very nice beer though, with a colour darker than the taste would suggest, and my first full pint of the day (after many, many halves!). Thanks for sticking with me through this veritable binge posting on beer. There are still more things from the festival to write about, including more food, blues music, and of course the cider!

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