Visit the a swift one site

After a couple of days of serious research, it is time to make an educated appraisal of the Star Festival, (and I cannot mention Mallinsons apparently !!!). The set up is as always, I won't bore you with the details but suffice it to say there are 46 beers available in the marquee as well as 9 that change constantly on the pub bar.

The beers have come from far and wide, and comprise the best selection that I have come across for some time at a festival. There are offerings from Knops in Scotland, on the main bar, be quick or you'll miss it, Clearwater in Somerset, the second beer brewed by Windsor & Eton, one of only 2 barrels of Steel City 'Merton Ruination', Blindmans are there, and Waen too..a great festival of rare beers and rare breweries.

In addition there are beers from Pictish, Brew Co, Brown Cow, Goose Eye, Roosters and Five Towns to name but a few. In fact more beers that you could shake a stick at, should that be your thing !

I have managed to sample a few, for quality control and research purposes, of course. But what was good ? Silly question, its all good, all cellar cooled and through handpumps, they can even serve beer without a sparkler should this be your desire. I know everyone has different tastes so my favourites may not be yours, and there are still plenty for me to test drive so there may even be some better ones to come, but for what its worth these are what I like.

Of course I cannot mention Mallinsons, which I won't, and it goes without saying that they are superb, but I cannot mention that can I Will ? So what else is good ? Pictish 'Summit' hit the spot, light and hoppy, one of their single hopped beers. The previously mentioned Steel City, those who know the brewery will know they don't skimp on hops either; Goose Eye 'Awesome' is one of their caramelly tasting beers; I have heard good reports of the Boggart 'Blackberry Blonde'; Derby's 'Pennys Porter' is a good dark beer and Milk Street, 'Whoops a Daisy' a good, malty beer should these tastes be your thing. The best beer I had though was from one of my favourite breweries, and one not often seen round these parts. It will surprise those who know me, that it is not a light, hoppy beer but a dark red, fruity beer, Blue Monkey '99 Red Baboons was superb. (and has a local connection, in that one of the brewers is Tom Evans,who was sometime relief manager at the Rat) .

In these times of money being tight, it has been great to see the marquee so busy on what were usually quieter nights with visitors from far and wide, many of whom promised a reappearance later in the week. Another chance to tick 'tickers' !!!

A great vote of thanks are due to Sam and the team, who have spent ages sourcing the beers, putting in hours of work getting the festival together, and serving the beers. A special word for Grant who had the unenviable task of tasting all the beers before they came on the bar to make sure they were in tip top condition, hard work but someone had to do it !! Again, Sam has managed to create of the best festivals around. Why not give it a try, you will not be disappointed.