Saturday, 5 December 2015

Home for the Festival.

A great bar near Lincoln Station.
After the recent Nottingham trip, my previous post, it was back to all   that North East   Lincolnshire could offer. With the days definitely shortened, the sunshine hours giving way to persistent, depressing and, certainly, not in the least, glamorous wind, rain and general gloom. Oh, joy! The Journey back from Nottinghamshire to Lincolnshire, on the very punctual 15-29 train, necessitated a 50 minute stop at Lincoln. Previous knowledge of the County’s capital City meant that we knew, with the time being tight, the best place to refresh our thirsty selves, and still be in time to finish our trip home. Our hostelry of choice would be The Treaty of Commerce, on the High Street, about 250 metres from the station. I have popped into this Bateman’s run pub quite a few times over the years, and found it very friendly, and offers a reasonable range of the brewery’s ales, and, usually a couple of guest beers. This time was no exception, and I decided to fore go the XB, XXXB, and other brews on tap, to try a pint of “Impy Dark”, from the Brampton Brewery. This 4.3% Mild was jam packed with wonderful chocolate and coffee flavours, and the bitterness in the finish is well balanced with a hint of sweetness. If in this neck of the woods and, like us, have a little while to waste between trains, this is a great place to drop into.

Upstairs at The Matrix Bar
Festival Time.
The rest of the journey back was, well, uneventful. On disembarking, we nipped into the adjacent Yarborough Hotel, where we had a pint and a half of Goff’s “Lancer”. This was a Golden Ale of 3.8% which was reasonably malty, but with a nice fruitiness in the after taste. The finish was dry and not bad at all.  We had (or rather, I) an idea of shooting home, dropping of our bag, a quick spruce up and back out to The Grimsby CAMRA Beer Festival, but with the rain now teeming down,accompanied by a stiff, cold Northerly blast, we decided to curtail our evening there and then. A busy day “grand-parenting” followed on Saturday, so by teatime we were ready for a drink or two. With this in mind, and in bloody awful weather, of the same type as yesterday, but more ferocious,  we put our heads down and staggered to and The Matrix, a student venue next door to JDW’s,Yarborough Hotel  in Grimsby for the local CAMRA branch’s 2nd Annual Beer Festival. We arrived windswept, soggy but not beaten, at the bar situated upstairs, and were met by quite a reasonable selection of 22 of the 24  brews previously advertised, along with  4 Real Ciders. By the end of the evening's events, we had managed to “complete the card” between us, so  to speak, mostly in ½ pints. The list and my notes are as follows.

Axholme Brewing Company "Cleethorpes Light " 4.4%
Fruity, light and full of hoppiness. Buckthorns from the sea at Cleethorpes are used to add a nice tang. Very nice indeed.

Bellhaven "80 Schilling" 3.9%
Rich, smooth ruby coloured beer, with a nice caramel sweetness backing the bitter, dry finish.

Bateman's "Salem Porter" 4.7%
An old favourite which is full of fruit and nut flavours, and hints of biscuit. Liquorie, spice and nuts also combine to make this an excellent beer.

Double Top "Wonderland" 4.4%
Another Ruby Ale, well hopped

Fulstow Brewery "Hewitt's Strong Ale" 7.5%
A beer brewed for the first time in over half a century. This was a dark, robust beer, and had a lovely dryness in the finish. I hope it is on offer again soon. I can't wait until I reach 102 for my next taste of it !

Fulstow Brewery "Soulby Sons & Winch Ltd Pale Ale 5%
A nice crisp Pale Ale with coffee hints

Great Newsome "Sleck Dust" 3.8%
Very floral, increasingly dry, and good bitterness in the finish. Great session ale

Harvistoun "Bitter and Twisted" 3.8%
Another old favourite, which is rounded, with malty sweetness and hints of fruit in the main taste which leads to a complex and zesty in the finish.

Horncastle Ales "Wicked Blonde" 3.9%
A very fruity session ale which imparts lovely citrus flavours in the finish

Imperial Brewery "Black IPA" 5%
I like these black IPA's, and this one was very nice indeed. Dark, hoppy and bitter-sweet to begin, and plenty of dry citrus in the refreshing and long finish.

Intrepid Brewery "Trade Mark IPA" 4.5% 
A lot of flavours, honey, citrus and hints of tropical fruit, and a long hoppy finish make this a big punchy beer.

Lincoln Brewing Company "Friendly Rottweiller" 4.5%
Another crisp, dry session beer, with subtleties in the hopped finish.

Lincoln Brewing Company "Great Tom" 3.7%
A good dark ale, mild like, with hints of chocolate, and coffee, Fruit and a balanced bitter-sweetness lead to a long enjoyable finish.

Mr Grundy "Big Willie" 4.3%
A very crisp, dry Golden Ale, with good bitterness at the end.

Rowett Brewery "Six Hour Lunch" 4.2%
An unfiltered, unfined Bitter from a local (North Thoresby) nano-brewery. A very nice beer, with subtle fruit and hops throughout, and a crisp finish. I will look out for more beers from this brewer.

Rowett Brewery "Rowetts Stock Ale" 7.5%
A big warming mouth-feel greets the drinker of this brew. Aged in Whiskey barrels and double fermented using historic yeast strains, this is a true classic ale. Tasting notes suggested dried fruit, burnt sugar, leather and tobacco. Sound like a used sofa ! The taste, though, was absolutely wonderful.

Sheffield Brewing Company "Crucible Best" 3.8%
A mish-mash of flavours make this beer interesting. Sweet fruit and harsh bitterness, with citrus and caramel all come together to balance perfectly. Not bad at all.

Sheffield Brewing Company "Five Rivers" 3.8%
Another easy drinking beer from this brewer. This one was a lot more floral and hoppy in the finish. Light, refreshing and pale in looks. Hints of grass also evident.

Wentworth "Firecracker" 3.8%
A Session Bitter with the taste of cinder toffee in the finish. OK, but a touch ordinary.

Wentworth "Vanilla Stout" 4.5%
The vanilla, alongside the well balanced coffee hints combine excellently and lead to a lovely bitter finish in this wonderful Stout.

Willy's "Festival Special" 3.9%
An American inspired bitter, which was quite reasonable. Big in hop flavours, but still a little subtle. Nice bitter-sweetness.

8 Sail Brewery "Chocolate Stout" 4.6%
A good solid stout, with nice flavours. The chocolate bitterness is still quite smooth, and keeps on coming right through the long satisfying finish.

Overall, not a bad festival. Not the biggest, or best I have visited, but a really good showcase for Real Ale for this area.The beer range was quite good and varied.  The venue chosen was OK, but not really ideal, and I understand the financial reasons to it being held at this venue, but as the downstairs started to fill with students, and grunge music volumes increased, it did  drown out the folk based entertainment, which was going on in our dark loft area, more than a touch. Hopefully, next years bash will, again , fall on my days off, and I hope this local Festival goes on for many years to come.
Oh, one last thing. Thanks to my Name card win, I did manage to procure a bottle of Grants Whiskey. Happy Days.
Cheers and keep it "Real"

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