Well, one of the highlights in the Pendle social calendar is truly underway.
Yes, it’s my annual clarion call for the Pendle Beer Festival, being held at The Muni in Colne until late on Saturday evening.
It’s without doubt one of the finest, diverse, social gatherings of beer appreciation in the north of England, where an eclectic mix of beery brethren have over 100 ales (and ciders) to tempt and tingle their taste buds.
Now in its 13th year, the festival, organised by the East Lancashire branch of CAMRA, goes from strength to strength. Over 2,300 thirsty, beery reveller’s descended on The Muni last year as the town of Colne became a mecca of beer for three days.
No doubt the festival will witness a similar attendance to 2016 - maybe more, if Thursday's opening night was anything to go by as beer connoisseurs throng to this excellent venue, situated on the mainline bus route. You can literally wobble out and get on a bus in a few precarious steps.
So, what have the festival organisers identified, in order to satisfy the discerning ale quaffers of the locality and beyond?
Well, the beer list reveals beverages from Orkney to Hampshire.
It is a list which includes many of the beers from the area’s talented brewers. Although, I would have liked to have witnessed a few beers from the new wave of brewers, evolving from in and around Manchester.
Worry not, there is a plethora of tasty tipples on offer.
And that gives me an opportunity to present to you some beers I will be hunting down.
They are ales I would thoroughly recommend at this beery bash.
First recommendation is a dark wheat beer from Beer Brothers. Their Dunkel Wheat Beer(5.5%) is a belting beverage. A typical German-style dark lager is has a sparkling roast and fruity aroma. With moderate to light carbonation it boasts notes of roasted malt, liquorice and dark berries. Delightful fruity, spritzy finish – wunderbar!
One not to be missed is Reedley Hallows, New Laund Dark (4.4%). It’s my favourite Reedley Hallows brew and the great news is, this excellent stout will be dispensed from the wood. Its flavours of dark chocolate, dark, stone fruits and smokey bitterness are a perfect marriage. I cannot wait to sample the oak barrel aged version.
There are seven beers from the wood on offer. And a second one I will certainly be tasting is Bosco Brewing Co. (Cliviger), Heavy (5.3%). This is a beer I haven’t tasted yet. It’s sescribed as a strong red ale, which has been matured in a whisky cask and that suggests to me, from the limited tasting notes a robust, deep flavoured ale with malty and dark, stone fruit flavours. It will undoubtably have a warmth-in-the- mouth feel and finish. Maybe a spicy warmth.
It will no doubt be popular. Brewer Carmelo Pillitteri brews superb craft ales at the rear of Nino’s restaurant and bar, in Cliviger. His Spaghetti Stout from the wood, was first to sell-out at last years festival – enough said!
For the many beer aficionados at the festival who like a refreshing, zestful and punchy potion, Vocation’s Bread and Butter, will no doubt tick all the boxes. A golden ale with a fruity and floral aroma and flavour. Canned peaches, lychee and lemony flavours are in charge. Fruit lingers in the lip-smackingly, moderately dry finish.
Finally, I feel obliged to recommend a beer that I helped create for the Big Clock Brewery. Brit Hop, a premium Pale Ale at 4.5%, will hopefully be popular with the traditional ale drinkers. A deliciously malty, fruity (blackcurrant-like) and moderately bitter-hopped brew. With a subtle spicy warmth, in the fruity hopped finish.
A quality quintet, in my opinion, out of many delicious cask ales on offer at this friendly and welcoming festival.
Doors open on Friday and Saturday from 11-30am to 11pm. Free admission for card carrying CAMRA members. Live entertainment tonight is from 8-10pm and also throughout the day tomorrow.