We visited the 3rd Berkhamsted Beer Festival at the weekend, a fairly small beer festival in the local Civic Centre with 24 beers and 6 ciders available.
So we arrive and pay our £5 to get in (£2.50 of it was refundable for the glass) and purchase our beer tokens, this is a no cash bar, 1 ticket = 1 pint, if you want a half then rip your ticket in half – nice and simple system. We are just sorting ourselves out, when a bloke says “I’d get in there if I were you lads, the bar is rammed.” Brilliant.
We head on into the main room and he is in-fact correct, the bar area is very busy, 4-5 people deep, so we join the back of the queue and decide what we are going to have first, the queue moves nice and quickly, the bar staff are good at their jobs and the ticket only system saves having to dish out change or go to a till, excellent stuff.
We decide to go for half pints, firstly we’ll be able to try more beers, secondly if we picked one that wasn’t particularly good we wouldn’t be stuck with a pint of the stuff, and thirdly and most importantly, the beer staff tend to be generous with their half pint servings and you seem to get almost a 3 quarters of a pint every time – bonus!
Grabbing our first beer we headed outside as it was fairly busy indoors, we found the car park out the back which was fairly well attended again with lots of people enjoying the sunshine.
First up was Stowaway IPA from Crafty Hare – a good solid start to the beer festival, we all agreed this was a cracking beer, the first one of the day always tends to taste that bit nicer but we were all happy with this one.
Next up was Cock N Bull from Concrete Cow Brewery, this was totally different to the first beer and did have a bit of a dodgy smell to it, however it didn’t taste too bad and again it was a beer that we all enjoyed.
By now the sun was beating down, it was a beautiful day and the beers were in full flow, the third beer we tried was Inertia from Aylesbury Brewhouse, the description below is pretty spot on, nothing fancy but this is a very well brewed beer indeed, went down a treat.
Our 4th beer of the day was $UMO from Mad Squirrel Brewing, this was pretty fruity and typical of an American craft beer that are fairly popular at the moment. This one got mixed reviews, some liking and some of us not so keen.
Next up was Apache from Tring Brewery, now I’m a big fan of the Tring Brewery beers usually, but wasn’t a massive lover of this one which was a shame, oh well onto the next…
Beer number 6 now and we are in full flow, this one is Buffalo from Animal Brewing this was another good beer which was thoroughly enjoyed by us all.
At this point a few of us wanted to watch the FA Cup semi final between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur so was headed off to find a pub with the game on. We ended up in The Crown a few doors down, found a table in front of the football – perfect.
Surprisingly our beer tokens didn’t work in here so it was back to old school cash! We went for a pint of White Hawk again from the Tring Brewery, this was more like it, very good pint this one.
Next up was a pint of Stardust from another local brewer Haresfoot, this is a ruby red ale, again a completely different drink to the last but this is another good ale.
Our 3rd and final pint in the pub was Roasted Nuts by Rebellion Beer Co, my notes on this one (as I was struggling to remember things at this point) were: Stout style head. Caramel taste. Deep red colour. Decent beer.
It was then a trip back to the beer festival, this was around 8.30pm and unfortunately a fair few of the beers were finished at this point, we went for Father Thames by Windsor & Eton, another enjoyable beer this one.
At this point I know we had another beer, however I made no notes of it and I have a feeling it may well have been a repeat of something we had earlier. After this beer and due to the fact we were starving, we headed off to find a curry and ended up in the Taj Mahal, a classic Indian restaurant, I polished off some popadoms, a keema rice and a lamb madras (as you asked) washed down by a bottle of Cobra.
And that was our day at the Berkhamsted Beer Festival, a cracking day out, the beer festival itself was a decent size, with live music all day on the Saturday, not to big and all locally sourced beers which was a nice touch too, we will definitely be heading back next year.