Sunday, 29 September 2013

MOSI beer festival

This is now the third consecutive year I've been to the MOSI festival and it never fails to impress. A magnificent setting, in the Steam Hall, you get to wander round the trains and contemplate other mysterious-looking contraptions from the industrial revolution while supping your ale.

The first time we went, they pretty much ran dry by early Saturday afternoon. It was a bit better last year but this time, we went on opening night - 5pm Thursday. Apart from having to go to work the following day, this was a good decision. There was a modest queue at the door but once in, the waiting was over and we had unfettered access to the bar all night.

I'd planned ahead by looking at the beer list and had decided to start with an Elland 1872 Porter. I'd never had a current Champion Beer of Britain before and wanted to have some before it ran out. In hindsight, this may have been a bit over-cautious because nothing runs out on Thursday night! 

It was very nice but I'm not the biggest porter fan and to be fair, didn't have much to compare it to. It was very strong and complex, with tons of roasted malt taste but the main problem was that it completely broke my taste buds, meaning I just couldn't get any meaningful taste out of the next two or three drinks. A schoolboy error.

The beer of the night for me was Weird Wit, a collaboration between Blackjack in Manchester and Weird Beard Brew Crew, who I've fawned over before in this blog. It was a wheat beer, so pale and hazy but strongly hopped as well, which is unusual for that style. It took a minute to get used to but once you were onboard with it, it was sensational. 

Another stand-out was Cumbrian Five Hop from Hawkshead, which was a lovely hoppy golden number. I think we may have had a Windermere Pale as well but it was all starting to get a bit fuzzy by that point and I can't be sure. 

I follow a lot of brewers on Twitter and there was much excitement over the annual hop harvest recently, with a rush to use this year's fresh "green" hops in a brew. With this in mind, I tried a Dunham Massey Green Hop. I had been expecting some sort of different, fresh taste but what I got was a bit odd; kind of like a grassy taste. It was difficult to describe - it did taste fresh but not in a particularly good way.

All in all, I really enjoyed MOSI and the beers were all very well served. Festivals can be awful when you have to fight to get to the bar but by going on Thursday, we avoided the queues nicely. The next one is IMBC in October. Can't wait.

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