I wrote previously here and here about my recent direct encounters with the thriving US craft beer scene and when I was there I noticed how popular beer festivals had become. “Beer weeks” also feature strongly and, given how real ale and craft beers continue to gain popularity in Bristol, it’s no surprise that two Bristol-based beer writers – Lee Williams and Stephen Powell – with experience of beer weeks in America decided to organise one for Bristol in October.
Highlights included pump takeovers, speciality brews from local brewers and food and beer events. Noteworthy among these was Yorkshire Brewery, Summer Wine‘s takeover of the recently-refurbished Famous Royal Navy Volunteer and the Brewsters Beer Festival, jointly-hosted by the Red Lion, Whitehall and the Chelsea Inn, Easton. Excellent beers on offer included Oddball Ruby Red Ale (ABV 4.2%), from Offbeat at the Red Lion and Arthur’s Knight Porter from Jennings Brewery (ABV 4.2%) at the Chelsea.
However, a really fascinating event was that organised by Wiper & True, Ashley Down Brewery and Chomp at Bocoso. Bocoso is an amazing venue tucked away in a little valley at the back of St Werburghs. The site is partially open air and full of bric-a-brac and collectables. It was wonderfully atmospheric as night fell in what is, in effect, a rural valley in the heart of Bristol.
Chomp provided proper beef burgers and fries and Wiper & True, in collaboration with Beerd, and Ashley Down dispensed beers brewed specially for the beer week. The standout beer for me was Bristol Cream Stout (ABV 4%), brewed by Beerd and Wiper and True at Bath Ales. The beer was brewed as a milk stout and then infused with Bristol Cream Sherry to offer a deep sweetness, a tart orange hint and a soft, velvety finish.
My understanding is that there will be a Bristol Beer Week in 2014.