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Last night at 5pm the doors opened on the eagerly awaited Star Beer Festival. The usual punters were queued outside gearing themselves up for the inevitable rush into the marquee to see which beers Sam had found to tempt them with this time. They were not disappointed. Sam had even managed to charm the weather so they did not get wet whilst waiting.

I will not bore you with the mechanics of the festival, it is the same format as before, with 46 beers on handpull in the marquee but this time there are a few ciders as well.

The only problem was how to approach the beers. Was it a case of taking the new breweries first or going for those you knew you would like ? Or just sticking a pin in the programme and hoping for the best ? I actually went for a combination of the three. (not at the same time though !).

The obvious place to start was with the Mallinsons 'Pique-Nique', 4.1% and light and hoppy, just the thing to set me up for the rest of the evening. Next to take my fancy was Old School Brewery 'Hopscotch'. A new brewery to me and a very decent beer with lots of taste for a 3.7% beer. This was eclipsed by another new brewery though. London Brewing 'Hops & Mops' was a little stronger and managed to pack lots of hop flavour into the beer. Their other beer 'Beer Street' was a 4% more traditional style bitter. On the London theme, I thought I would try another new brewery and tried 'Love Not War' from London Fields. This was a 4.5% red ale, and did not hit the spot with me, although others seemed more than impressed by it. I suppose it would not do for us all to be the same !

There were still plenty of beers to try though. Roosters 'North Bar Brew No1' was a pleasant beer, with a nice hop balance; Yorkshire Brewing 'Tyger, Tyger', although having one of the largest pump clips with a nice tiger picture, seemed a little lacking for my taste; Elland 'Citra-Nel-\Bullet' was what it said, and very good too;and to finish off another Mallinsons. This time the 5% 'Mr Tumnus' which again did not skimp on the hops and was an ideal way to finish off my first session.

I did not have a beer that I did not enjoy and did not stray from the lighter beers (although the Llangorse beer which the programme notes said was dark and chocolately turned out to be a medium coloured bitter !) . All that is left is to get myself together and try some more beers tonight. Its a hard job but someone has to do it .

(cue for Will's super Star picture)