Craft Beer Calling

Sat at home and drinking Mordue’s Panda Frog project Ascendancy got me thinking….

Last night was my chance to scour the beer list for the coming Craft Beer Calling. First and foremost I have to say that the beer list on offer is by far the most impressive list we’ve ever had at a festival in Newcastle. As I’m sure many of you did, I sat with a pen and put a little tick next to the beers that tempted me. There was some known first class beers that I really want to have such as Buxton Axe Edge, Anarchy Citra Star and Kernel Pale Ale Citra. Trouble is that the unusual ‘get it while you can’ beer list is mind-blowingly good.   From first read, Buxton Double Axe, Siren Tickle Monster, Siren/Mikkeller Daydream, Lagunitas Maximus, Weird Beard Holy Hoppin’ Hell, Yeastie Boys xeRRex…. I could go on. I won’t though because the more I list the more I realise that these are all pretty serious beers. There’s not one of them with a sensible abv! Oh dear….

Fortunately, I realise that these beers wont all be available all of the time so it’ll be a case of seeing which ones are on for any particular session and seeking them out. Hurrah for the weekend pass! And hurrah for the beer soaking fat hippo burgers that I suspect I’ll live off all weekend. I’ll also seek out the lower abv beers, Almasty cherry sour, Beavertown Earl Phantom

What I’m also hoping is that the beer festival organisers have had the foresight to learn from Indyman and make water available for those who want to drink responsibly. I’m very interested to see how the public take to this festival, it has the potential to be a huge boost for the craft beer scene in the North East and a high profile festival like this should attract beer lovers to the city from further afield which in turn raises the profile of the local breweries. So this is a big deal for the local beery economy. With this being the first holding of this event, I’m keen to see it work out and establish itself firmly on the beery calendar.

There’s a group of us going along tonight to see what’s what and I intend getting myself along for the Beavertown meet the brewer session s I’m a big big fan of their beers and also their brand. The meet the brewer sessions add a hell of a lot to the event for me. I’m a beer geek who loves hearing all about the beers and the breweries and every single detail. Fanatical is the word and I know I’m not the only one. It really does enhance your enjoyment of drinking the beers when you have the story behind them. It’s the beery equivalent of the way xfactor sell the public the personal stories of the contestants ‘journey’, people often end up voting for the more interesting people rather than the best singer. Same goes with beer, if you hear an interesting back story to a beer, I for one am more likely to try it.

Then Saturday afternoon, we have the pleasure of welcoming the queen of beers in the UK, Melissa Cole to Tyneside. She’s doing a talk on beer and food matching with Tony Renwick, the head chef from Newcastle’s first brewpub The Bridge Tavern. I know the food there is fantastic as it’s become a regular haunt for any works lunches as it’s a short walk from the office. I very much look forward to hearing Melissa’s insight into all things beer and food matching, it’s not to be missed.

Then Saturday night I’m going along with a friend, fully intending to just focus on sampling the beers. The lad I’m going with is predominantly a lager drinker but when I sent him the beer list and pointed out the Camden beers he mentioned that he’d had Rivet Catcher before. I see this as an opening to getting him to sample some great fresh beers in an attempt to get him drinking better beer. However, I won’t lead him down the 10%+ abv route just yet! I don’t want to scare him off on his first visit to a beer festival.

Sunday afternoon sees the North East brewery panel Q&A session. This is what I want to hear. I’m a loyal supporter of our local breweries, and rightly proud of the beers they produce so I’ll be very interested to hear of their plans for the future and where they see the beer industry heading. It’s a booming period for beers and whilst we all realise it can’t keep expanding the way it has there is no suggestion that craft beers are going anywhere anytime soon. Not if we keep drinking it!

If you’re not going to Craft Beer Calling, get yourselves to Free Trade Inn/Bacchus Sour fest or the Brewdog Collabfest where there are more than enough beers on to not feel like you’re missing out.

All in all this is a weekend that I’ve been looking forward to since it was first announced. So if you’re going, enjoy the festival and if you see me wandering round say hello.

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