CAMRA 2021 Winter Beer Festival 19 – 21 March

What do you do when you can’t get to live beer festivals? Here’s what CAMRA said when I checked out their web site:

JOIN THE GREAT BRITISH BEER FESTIVAL WINTER FROM THE COMFORT OF YOUR HOME!

Unfortunately due to COVID-19, we are unable to host the Great British Beer Festival Winter in Birmingham as planned. However, we still wanted to share with you some of the very best beer, cider and perry the UK has to offer. Join us for the Great British Beer Festival Winter at Home – an interactive, immersive and on-demand virtual festival that you can enjoy where you want, when you want. Included in the price of your ticket is a box of fantastic beers, ciders or perries and a login code for access to a vast array of online content including beer tastings, brewery tours, recipe ideas, industry Q&As, pub history talks and so much more.

This is the link: https://winter.gbbf.org.uk/

Well, anyway, I signed up. Cost me £30 delivered for a box of 6 dark beers and a ticket for the expert tasting session – called the “Highlights of Sheffield Beer Box and Tasting Session”. What with the other online sessions, and money off various festival food selections, it doesn’t seem bad value for money. No travelling expenses or B&B costs either!

Here are pictures of the beers I was sent:

And here are descriptions of the beers from each brewer’s website:

  • Ballast Porter 4.4%. Stonehouse Brewery, Weston, Shropshire. Smooth, velvety porter balanced with Guatemalan coffee and vanilla.
  • Victorian Ruby Mild 7.0%. Bottle conditioned. Ashover Brewery, Chesterfield, Derbyshire. A traditional strong mild brewed to a historic recipe. Brewed especially for International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day to promote the efforts of female brewers.
  • Wildcat Scottish Style Deep Amber 5.1%. Cairngorm Brewery, Scotland. A smooth, deep amber coloured beer with a complex malt, fruit and hop flavour.
  • Maggs Mild 3.5%. West BerkshireBrewery, Yattenden, Berks. A traditional rich, dark mild with big hitting biscuit malt flavours, a light earth hop aroma and a velvety smooth finish.
  • Stout Coffin Dark Ale 4.6%. Church End Brewery, Nuneaton, Warks. Black, chewy and creamy. A first class example of what a stout should be.
  • Mild Concussion 5.5%. Fixed Wheel Brewery, Blackheath, W. Midlands. Our house mild brewed with a plethora of specialty and high dried malts, big toffee and caramel flavour’s on a light malt base, big fruity finish, a beer with layers of flavour yet light and easy drinking, just watch your head with the older style abv.

Some really great beers in the selection and all fine words no doubt, but the truth will be in the tasting. I’m really looking forward to joining the tasting session and other festival sessions over the weekend. Hopefully, ‘virtual’ beer festivals will be temporary and not the ‘new norm’. With a bit of good fortune, real, live beer festivals will return by late summer. Not mixing with other beer drinkers and getting ‘virtually’ imbibed on my own just isn’t the same thing!

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