Again no TM this year - he was still Up North instructing FN on the proper way to drink beer. Also no Mike from B&T (at rugby) or the Satan/Jem combo (no tickets), which left Mengo to carry on the tradition alone. Alone, of course, apart from the thousand other punters who turn up every year, which now includes Cally and her mum to promote the Garden Gate Beer Festival.
The first Mengo shift comprised ROC, PV and PC accompanied by SH and Gary. PC immediately got stuck into the foreign beer while PV and ROC stayed firmly this side of The Channel. The second shift of KOC, RN and MG arrived latter.
The popularity of the festival had brought some changes. The rear door escape from the main hall to the Wurlitzer room had been closed off to everyone apart from staff so that the numbers downstairs could be controlled. Indeed the control was so strict large queues built up during organ performances making not worth trying to visit. A visit towards the end of the session also proved fruitless as most beers were no longer available.
Fortunately PV and ROC had visited the Wurlitzer Bar early on in the proceedings and had got the beers they were after. Including for PV an unlisted stunner - Downton Chocolate Orange Stout. If you like chocolate oranges you will love this beer.
Other notable British beers were the Old English Rose, from the ever reliable Cotswold Spring brewery and the Ayr Leezie Lundie, an early sampling for ROC. There was also a new Bowman beer, Warbler, which was up to this brewer's high standard. However, the Nailsworth Alestock remained untried - the sample smelled of the farmyard which was enough to put PV off.
PV's choice, using the Clark method:-
|Windsor & Eton||Guardsman||4.2|
|Cotswold Spring||Old English Rose||4.0|
|North Yorkshire||Crystal Tips||4|
|Downton||Chocolate Orange Stout||5.5|
|St. Georges||Friar Tuck||4.0|
ROC, PV, PC, KOC, RN, MG & SH plus others