Last night I went to the Factoberfest 2012 festival in Bristol a beer and music festival organised by the Bristol Beer Factory. The range of beers looked fantastic and was what originally attracted me, so how did they pan out?
Bristol Beer Factory are one of my favourite brewers making very high quality craft beers and it was immediately evident that they had set out to select a range of beers to rival their own. The idea that a brewery picks a range of beers which fit with their brewing style is an interesting one and I think it really worked. If you liked the beer from the brewery then you were sure to like the other beers on offer.
Beers from Bristol Beer Factory and Friends
I tried two beers by Magic Rock Brewing Carnival and Curious both were very well crafted and balanced hoppy beers. These were one of the breweries which drew me to Factoberfest and they did not disappoint, the US hop flavours I enjoy were in abundance and I will be seeking out more from this brewery.
Justin from Moor Brewing Company was there enjoying the beers – I always take it as a good sign when a brewer is attending a beer festival. Two Moor beers were on, both unfined and both superb. Moor Beer Sommerland Gold is an example of the flavour which can be worked into a gold beer – those who refer to “bland gold beers” should get themselves one of these as it should put that myth to bed, the hopping was flavoursome yet not overpowering or grapefruity and the flavours brought by the yeast really balance the hops. The other Moor beer at Factoberfest was Ported Peat Porter, again the unfined version was an improvement on an already fantastic beer bringing a velvety mouthfeel to the beer, the addition of port to this beer adds a fruityness which compliments the malty flavour of the base beer.
While I was there I finally tried Ilkley Siberia the collaboration beer with beer and food writer Melissa Cole, it was superb. I had not been sure what to expect from Siberia as I am not keen on fruit beers but the sourness of the rhubarb and selection of a Saison yeast and the flavours it gave the beer really worked. I think I would like to try this one again with crumble pudding so will be looking out for it in bottles.
Finally from the guest breweries I tried a beer from a brewery completely unknown to me, Cromarty Brewing Company Rogue Wave. It had been recommended by Simon Bartlett who was dutifully working behind the bar as a beer I might like (I had mentioned how much I enjoyed Southern Conspiracy, also available in it’s slightly weaker but just as tasty new guise of Bitter Kiwi). He hit the mark, it had a beautiful grapefruit nose and superb tropical fruity hoppy flavour. Another brewery I think I will need to get some other beers from.
But the guest breweries were not the only attraction at Factoberfest, Bristol Beer Factory put on a few “experiments” for the public, variations on the existing range with interesting additions.
Again on recommendation I tried the stunning Fiery Exhibitionist with added chipotle chilli. I have found chilli beers to be a bit hit and miss often being way too dark and sticky and with over the top heat. However Fiery Exhibitionist has hit the nail on the head, taking a good fruity strong ale and then adding just the right amount of heat for it to be pleasant and interesting but no overpowering. I am hoping to see this beer produced at some point and if it is would recommend it to anyone who likes chilli heat.
I did not try the Lemon Licker, a version of Acer infused with caramelised lemons and zest and then dry hopped using Sorachi Ace as I did not have time, however those that like lemon seemed to be enjoying it and I hope that this is also produced in greater quantity at a later date.
I ended my Factoberfest on an old favourite with a new twist in the form of Cafe Au Lait – Bristol Beer Factory Milk Stout with added espresso coffee beans. Coffee flavours are not out of place in beer but are usually added using malts rather than actual coffee, I really like the Milk Stout and the addition of coffee beans was interesting but for me I preferred the regular version – though was glad to have tasted the variant.
Factoberfest Music from the Tobacco Factory
But wait – there was more – sadly there was no live music on the evening which I went but the Tobacco Factory has put on a line-up of live music and DJs for the weekend. If the music on the PA last night was anything to go by then I can imagine the next few days will be a treat for the ears as well as the tongue.
Music From:The Smokestack Shakers, One Shot, Poor Old Dogs, Tom Holder & The Railway Sleepers, Jim Evans, Rosie G & The Jelly Rebels, Ant Noel & The Peabody Drakes, Jacquemo, The Damn Busters Trio, Matt Woosey, DJ Hed Gandhi
Finally there is food, at Factoberfest 2012 not only do you have access to the Tobacco Factory’s range of food but Bristol Beer Factory has wheeled out the BBQ from Grillstock (an event I am gutted I didn’t get to attend) grilling steak sandwiches and smoky ribs in a pit BBQ. As a lover of meat this topped the evening off quite nicely.
So, I certainly enjoyed myself and would recommend taking some time out this weekend to go down to the Tobacco Factory and try some superb beers, lap up some music and lay into the BBQ. I am already looking forward to next year!