We visited Tewkesbury’s 18th Winter Ales Festival on 1st February and enjoyed a good selection of beers from around the country. The organisers sensibly offer beers in third pint measures to enable a reasonable range to be sampled.
In comparison with some previous years no ales stood out to me as exceptional, but a few are worthy of mention. Firstly, Chocwork Orange (ABV 6.5%) from Brentwood Brewery in Essex. This dark brown old ale did indeed have a sweet chocolate flavour. I also enjoyed The Darkness (ABV 4.5%) from Devil Fish of Hemmington near Bath. A smooth malty black beer.
Kelburn’s Ca’canny (ABV 5.2%) from Barrhead, Scotland was a rich, dark ale with coffee, roasted malts and chocolate flavour, with a fruity finish. Another enjoyable chocolate stout was Heartless (ABV 4.9%) from Red Willow, Macclesfield, which contains 85% cocoa Columbian chocolate.
However, my overall favourite was Galaxian Dark (ABV 5%) from Arbor, Kingswood, Bristol. Apparently this is classed as a black IPA. It is dark brown, with roasted malt and fruity hops flavours.