As I mentioned yesterday, I spent last night at The Cambridge Blue Festival of Winter Ales and had a great time, fantastic company and some awesome beer. I had a hit list of eight beers that I wanted to try, one of them wasn’t there, so I managed the other seven, which is quite good going for me.
I decided to start off at the lower end of the ABV scale with a couple of beers from the local Cambridge Moonshine brewery. First up was Pickled Moon, a 3.5% apple beer that was served out of a wooden cask. It tasted like cider and was lacking any sort of wooden buttery lactic notes. Next up was 800 Years of Innovation, a 3.5% gruit with no hops but five different herbs and you could certainty smell them. It was okay, but not really my cup of tea, I’d rather have some hops.
I really wanted to try the Adnams Beglian Wit, but it wasn’t there, so I moved onto Thornbridge Jaipur, a 5.9% proper IPA. This is a beer I’ve read a lot about on the internet and on twitter, it’s even moved people to come up with new words. I’ve tried it from a 330ml bottle before and was distinctly underwhelmed, so I had high hopes. From the first sip I could see why people have been raving about it, it was really nice, lots of body and lovely and bitter with some blousey hops.
Thornbridge Seaforth was next up, again it’s a 5.9% proper IPA and is supposed to be a version of Jaipur that only uses British (English?) ingredients. To be honest, this was my beer of the night, it totally blew me away. The balance was fantastic and it was just so, so drinkable, I’d recommend this to anyone it’s just sublime.
There was one more Thornbridge beer to try, Raven, a 6.6% black IPA, yes I know that is an oxymoron, but it’s easier to set expectations about what it will be like by calling it that. It was really nice, sort of like a BrewDog Black Dog with a bit more oomph. Of the three, Seaforth was the stand out, utterly superb, Raven would be next followed by Jaipur. I’d happily drink all three again, although I would probably just find myself drinking Seaforth if given the choice.
As I was relying on the goodwill of some friends for a lift home and time was running out, I decided to get to grips with a couple of the stronger beers. I headed straight for Moonshine Transforming Tomorrow, a 8.6% stout served fro ma wooden cask. Unlike his apple effort, you can really taste the wood with this one, a distinct buttery lacticness that coats the top of your mouth during the after taste. I popped into The Bacchanalia at lunch today and was chatting to Ed, he thinks that the cask this beer was in is has infected wood and that there is a distinct taste noticeable. I’ve never had the beer before, so I can’t comment either way, it was slightly different to what I was expecting though.
To finish the evening I plumped for an Adnams Tally Ho that had been aged for 16 months in the pub cellar. It poured very still with little conditioning and was a malty, fruity delight to drink. I enjoyed it so much I forgot to take a photo, hence why there is a picture of a bottle in the recently drunk gallery.
It was a great evening, great company, some nice beers and some great beers. If you are around Cambridge either tonight or tomorrow, then you could do a lot worse than pop in for a pint or two.
- 800 Years of Innovation (Gruit), 3.5% (1/2 pint)
- Transforming Tomorrow, 8.6% (1/2 pint)