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At least this year the Star Winter Festival went ahead without the deep covering of snow that greeted last years, which was a great plus for everyone, staff and customers alike. At 5pm the usual crowd of the usual suspects were snaking down Albert St awaiting the doors opening. And as usual everyone had his or her own agenda, whether it be local beers, new breweries, halves or pints, and soon the marquee was filling with punters.

For those who have been to the festivals here before the system was the tried and trusted one, 46 beers in the marquee bar, and 10 ever changing on the main bar. The only problem being where to start. There were plenty of beers to cater for all tastes, from light and hoppy, to dark and fruity, coming from breweries near and far, new ones and old favourites. I have a system at the festivals here, allegedly, so I started with Mallinsons ' Kiwi Classic Extra' at 4.4%. A good start, a beer packed with New Zealand hops. Then it was time to hunt down some new breweries. Field Marshall, from Hull's Wellington Inn was next, a dark bitter, lacking a hop bite in my opinion. Followed by Brewshed's (from Bury St Edmunds) 'Best Bitter' which did what it said on the clip, but again lacked something. The next two beers were stronger and both were IPA's, the first from Scotland, Barneys of Falkirk weighed in at 5.3%, and Shottle Farm from Derbyshire, was 4.5%. Both beers were decent examples of the style, but neither really hit the spot for me. Back to the old favourites, and Pictish. Their 'Startled' at 4.2% certainly did not skimp on the hops, and tasted like I had hoped. The real star of the show from what I drank however, was 'Hylda's Flycatcher' from North Riding in Scarborough who are rapidly becoming one of my favourite breweries. It was full of flavour and hop character, and a sensible drnking strength at 4.2%.

Of course, there are plenty of beers still to sample, and I still have to visit the dark side but I heard good things about Boggart 'Walnut Porter', which sounds weird but tastes good. Mallinsons 'Hot or Not?' was a chilli chocolate beer, apparently more chocolate than chilli. Two Roses ' Glorious' had its supporters, as did OMB ' Decaduck' and both are on my list for tonight.

Like I said this is only my opinion, get down and try some of the beers, you may think differently. As I said, there is beer for every taste and Sam has done a fine job in sourcing so many interesting ones that are rare to these parts.And if cheese or pickles or chocolate are your thing, then they are there as well. Looks like another Star success .