This weekend saw the second Birmingham Beer Bash come and go at The Bond Co in Digbeth, “Buuurminum”. The sun shone, it was bloody hot (generally) and as per last year, everyone seemed to be having a damn good time.
In another repeat of last year, I looked at the beer list and was muchos excited by what I saw. I made mental “I MUST have that” notes and pretty much ignored them, shambling randomly this way and that, going wherever whim took me next and choosing off the cuff. Hence, I missed out on some of those “must sample” items, but made up for it by trying stuff that perhaps if I’d have been fickle, I may well have ignored or mistakenly avoided.
The beers themselves were well-kept and set up in a logical way, making it easy to navigate your way around the lists if that was your preference. However, I think its fair to say that the blistering heat played a part in causing issues with both cask and keg, some were tricky to pour with foaming white ice cream cone heads aplenty, you also had to sup them pretty quickly on all counts as if not, they warmed to soup like levels in the glass rapidly. All out of anyones control of course and at the mercy of the Great British weather. Had the fest been indoor and air-conditioned, you’d bet your life it would have poured down all day and been blowing a gale..
I’m glad to say I didn’t have a bad beer all day, some were better than others of course, but the standard was high throughout. I sampled old favourites from established breweries alongside newer creations, what pleased me most though were some of the beers from the new kids on the block, more rising stars meaning even more choice in the months/years to come.
I made no notes on any of them and to be honest I don’t regret that at all, focussing all my attention on enjoying them taking priority. Thumbing back through the programme, these, in no particular order seem memorable now a few days on. Harbour – Belgian Pale, Hopcraft – Oceanic, Quantum – Stockport Sour, Elusive/Weird Beard – Lord Nelson, Weird Beard – Sadako, OffBeat/Blackjack – Jumping Juniper Rye, Brewfist/De Molen – Beautiful and Strange, Beerd – Razor IPA, Cheshire Brewhouse – Sorachi Ace, Axiom – New Dawn and of course the return of Wild Beer & Co’s Schnoodlepip. All great beers for different reasons and for different times during my two days. No doubt I have forgotten some that were later additions or perhaps your favourites, if so no offence meant, and no matter as on the whole all were enjoyed, so a cheery hats-off to all involved.
The food on offer was top-notch, and seemed to work well. Queues were minimal apart from the wood-fired pizzas on offer from Peel & Stone, which by nature wasn’t an immediate serve option, but managed really well with an “order and come back in ten” approach. For me at least, the pizzas stole the foodie show, and I could have ordered over and over.
It may just be the current Commonwealth Games “friendly games” slogan creeping unconsciously into my psyche, it could be the weather and the venue’s outside space using this to advantage, I also know pretty much all of the organising team quite well, which may be making me slightly biased. The reason really isn’t important and most definitely is not a slant on any other festivals either. It seemed though that I was constantly flitting from one friendly conversation to the next, I had some fun, informative, helpful, interesting, hilarious and no doubt bloody daft chats, met old friends and new and I just come away from ‘the bash” feeling really happy. A feeling that sort of radiated around the whole event from start to finish.
Can we do it all again next weekend….please?
P.S Some dates for your diary
OffBeat Firsty Friday Festival – 1st – 3rd Aug 2014
Leeds International Beer Fest – 4th – 7th September 2014
Back in Macc – Sept 13th 2014
IndyMan 3 – 9th -12th October 2014