Friday, July 1, 2011
We're back ! CBP at the Little Oak Beer Festival
Visited on 30/6/11. Despite the fact that it was a bit quiet when we visited this place in April (No. 33), we decided to give it another go when we heard they were having a beer festival. Good decision. Excellent decision in fact. I think it’s fair to say that first and foremost, on the CBP we’re a bunch of miserable bastards, so fulsome praise doesn’t come easily. However, after spending an absolutely cracking evening in here on what was the festival’s opening night, it’s difficult to be in any way critical. It really was a very well organised event – the perfect small beer festival in fact. So, let’s start with the ale. A special bar fitted with cask stillage, coolers and handpumps had been constructed on the back patio and a dozen ales were available here, plus 3 coiderrs. This was complimented by a further 4 or 5 ales at the normal bar. So none of that luke warm cloudy swill dribbling out of barrels nonsense. The selection of ales was impressive and covered most styles, ranging from conventional session bitters, through ruby and amber ales to high octane IPAs. A mild, a stout and a porter were thrown in for good measure and local microbreweries were well represented. Gladiator from Chester Ales is an old fashioned session bitter and was a good place to start, but a couple of early highlights were Gypsy’s Kiss and the Little Oak Special, a beer brewed for the occasion – both by local microbrewery WC. Sadly, this is the last time WC beers will be seen in public, as this most micro of microbreweries has now closed it’s doors. Inevitably though, whenever it is present, it’s impossible to ignore the legend that is Thornbridge Jaipur and sure enough, by ten o’clock we’d racked up the first round. That’s where it finished for the Captain Sensible wing of the CBP, but for the others, just one pint of this near perfect ale was never going to be enough. As a consequence, one or two of us were more than a little ‘Jaipured’ by the time we left. The live music for the occasion was provided by Thom Kirkpatrick with his 21st century one-man band – a unique and highly entertaining act and a cut above your average pub singer. After 5 minutes, I gave up figuring out how he managed to sing his own backing vocals and play a guitar without touching it. We simply watched and listened in awe. Electronic wizardry or smoke and mirrors ? I don’t care. It was great stuff. All in all this was a fantastic event and it just goes to show what imaginative people can achieve when they’re allowed to break free, albeit temporarily, from the yoke of the Pubco. Rumour has it that there’ll be another Little Oak beer festival before the end of the year. I certainly hope so and indeed if this is the case, you can rest assured we’ll be back. Again.