Beer = fun; ten random events

Whilst I've been away most weekends with my head stuck too close to a seven-litre, 570 bhp GT engine, I still found the time to sink a few beers as well. Here's a random selection of the fun beer times I had.

Sheffield shenanigans; Dave Unpronouncable's birthday beers at the Harlequin, single-hopped Alehouse stunners at the Fat Cat, Thornbridge CocoaDance in the KIT and random bottles at the Coach - all enhanced massively by the company (step forward Neil McGowan, Phil Lowry, Angelo Scarnera, Jan and Charlotte, The Brew Company's Pete Roberts, Dave Corby and the Thornbridge brewers).

Drinking with Kiwis, part 1; Epic brewing's Luke Nicholas was over from New Zealand for the launch of Epic Pale Ale at the Wetherspoons festival. He ended up in Derby and a merry night of beerage was had, to say nothing of the mini-fish-&-chips.

Bottles drank for the hell of it; Thornbridge Alliance, one too many Thornbridge Halcyon post-lawn-mowing, Brooklyn-Schneider Weizen, Stone 08 Vertical Epic, Struise Black Albert, Williams Midnight Sun...

Beer cocktailing; mixing the Jaipur mojito, created by Alistair Myers of Rowleys Restaurant with a version bludgeoned togther by me for The Session

Local pub festivals for local people; the Royal Oak at Ockbrook offered up Wild Walker (shitty), Ossett and Saltaire (tasty) and Three Cats Cider (superb). Scott and Mary Frost enjoyed them, too, in their last pub festival before emigrating to the beer-wasteland of California ;-) Just a shame that we never took those milds from Falstaff, Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, and mixed them to make an Ursa Middle...

Finding good pubs new to me; in my hometown of Derby (Mr Grundys, the refurbished Silk Mill), Birmingham (the Old Fox which had some barnstorming mild) and Lincoln (Green Dragon)

Drinking with Kiwis, part 2; sharing Drie Fonteinen kriek with award-winning homebrewer James Kemp and the Tigger of the Peak, Kelly Ryan, late one afternoon at the Coach & Horses, Dronfield

Mixing rail and ale; the superlative Barrow Hill festival that brought together train rides, plates of liver & onions, great cask beers (Falstaff Wilko, Lytham IPA, Amber Samuel Slater IPA) and a longer linger at the continental bottle bar for the hop delight that is Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA.

Two fests in one day; Newark and Lincoln CAMRA, some new brewery scoops (Old Slewfoot, Andwell), some fantastic light, fruity beers (Brewsters Kiyo, Brew Company Spring Bock), proper coarse pork pie (Porter's, Newark), proper chewy flapjack (Curtis's, Lincoln) and the anti-mild that is Brewdog How To Disappear Completely.

A classic pub-fest; The Coach & Horses in Dronfield is an outstanding pub - Thornbridge beers, amazing food, superb staff, cool music and wall art - so the prospect of its first beer festival was literally mouthwatering. And so it came to pass over a weekend blessed with sunshine for its BBQ. Great keg beer (unfiltered Moravka lager, Lovibonds Henley Gold), great cask beer (Thornbridge/Epic Halcyon, BrewDog Edge), great blues music and barbequed mackerel on a stick. Grrrreat!

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