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Last night saw the Star open its doors to its Spring Beer Festival, not that the weather was spring like. At 5pm there was the usual queue of punters snaking down Albert St waiting with anticipation to find what Sam had to tempt them this time. I am sure they did not go home disappointed.

The tried and tested system of previous festivals was in action again, 46 beers outside and 9 on the bar inside. Soon the marquee was full of enthusiasts taking stock and sampling their favourites. Wednesday night has become a popular night at the festival, to make sure that the beer you really want has not run off before you get chance to try it, and soon the 2 Mallinsons pumps were taking a bit of a hammering. 'Super Citra' was 4.1%, and was, surprise surprise, Citra dry hopped with citra, and 'I Should Be So Hoppy' was 4.6% and Castle Hill dry hopped with Citra. I can see some sort of theme here already.

When I started drinking, others had already set about the beers on the bar and hinting which was their favourite and what to try. Naturally I had my own agenda too, but we seemed to agree on most of our choices. Pictish ' Blue Lagoon' had its supporters, as did Little Ale Cart 'Blickling', both hoppy beers from well established breweries. I was a little surprised by Steel City 'South Pacific', firstly the green bullet hops in it did not make me sneeze, and secondly that it seemed more balanced and less aggresively hopped that some of their other beers. So far every beer I had tried was hoppy, light and what I would have expected from the brewery.

Time to strike out into the unknown and sample a few beers from breweries new to me. First up was Mithril, from North Yorkshire. Their 'Folk'n'Ale' , was only 3.7% but stood comparison with anything I had tried previously, and Blue Bee 'Moonbeams' was equally as good.

By this time, the beer meter was getting pretty full, but there were still plenty of beers I wanted to sample, and went for some advice as to what to try next. The general opinion said Fyne 'Jarl' was excellent, and would not be around long. After sampling it I could see why. It was a superb beer, again with citra to the fore and very moreish, (ask Tim, he seemed welded to the pump !).

However, time and capacity overtook me and I reluctantly had to turn my back on the rest. It does leave me with a wonderful array of beers to sample next time, having overlooked offerings from Goose Eye, Brew Co, and Yorkshire Dales to name but three. With stouts, and porters and a couple of IPA's to go at, as well, it looks as though this could be a long week !!

All the beer in the marquee were £2.50 a pint, which is good value these days, and should you want to diversify, there is the usual range of local cakes, cheese and honey to tempt you. Again, the makings of another classic festival from Sam and the team.