There are between 100 and 120 pubs in Chester. Our objective is quite simple - to drink in all of them, in one year, on Thursday nights.
Friday, November 4, 2011
Autumn Beer Festival at the Pied Bull
Visited on 3/11/11. When we arrived at the Pied Bull (No. 86), the party was already in full swing. The place was packed and although lots of CAMRA types were present, there were plenty of normal people there as well. Following the success of their last beer festival* which featured a Thornbridge ‘meet the brewer’ session, it was always going to be a popular event. Again, ‘meet the brewer’ was on the agenda, but this time the fellas from Marble (Manchester) were there to provide the spiel. Consequently Marble offerings dominated the 17 strong line up of ales. This is no bad thing though, because Marble ales are fantastic. They seem to be a bit under-represented in Chester though. As far as I can recall, the only Marble ale we’ve encountered on the CBP was the Manchester bitter at the Carlton Tavern (No. 5) way back in February. This is a clone of the original Strangeways Boddingtons bitter and was available here also. It’s a great beer then, but it wasn’t the best of the night. That accolade would have to go to either the superbly named ‘Pint’ or the even more superbly named ‘Dobber’ – again, both from Marble. The former is a session ale which is low in alcohol, but packed with hops – not dissimilar to Brimstage Trappers Hat I thought. The latter is a full on 5.9% IPA, loaded with hops and citrus aroma with hints of rambutan, durian and possibly even kumquat. An honourable mention must also go to the superb Thornbridge Sequoia, an American amber ale which actually seemed to taste a little bit of wood. Strange but true. Of course the Pied Bull’s own ales were present as well, including the excellent Bull’s Hit and another hoppy creation called Hong Kong Fooey** or summat. Which brings me onto an interesting conversation between ourselves and Pied Bull main man Luke. Laughingly, I suggested he might want to brew a special ale to commemorate the end of the CBP. Surprisingly, he thought it was a good idea ! We even discussed the style of the proposed brew. To acknowledge all the appalling cocktail bars in which we’ve had no alternative but to endure Mexican bottled beer, we thought it appropriate that the CBP special ale should be a Mexican style cask conditioned lager with lots of citrus hop action to represent fruit stuffed into bottle necks. An additional option would be to get some jalapeno chillies in there as well. Will it happen ? Well watch this space. Back to the fezza anyhow and it would be remiss of me not to mention the food, which by the way was provided free of charge. It was certainly a cut above your average pub quiz plate of minty curled up sarnies and the chilli sausage rolls in particular were superb. Great ales, great company, great food and most importantly great organisation then. I hate writing good reviews – it just doesn’t come naturally. Sometimes though, there’s simply no alternative.
* We missed it because we were poncing about down Lower Bridge St. See Bear & Billet (No. 39) et al