Inkymole and Factoryroad sponsored an ale apiece at this year's CAMRA Real Ale Festival. We've never done it before, but what an adventure. You see, you don't know what ale or cider you're going to be allocated…till you get there, dry throated, with tokens and £2 beer glass in hand.
Mole's beer could not have been more perfect. Holden's Old Ale is brewed 'by a woman' (to the handlebar-moustachio'd barman's shock and awe), and it was dark, slightly rough and chocolatey - and a whopping 7.2%. Had I been that woman who'd brewed it, I couldn't have designed a more perfect spec. Not a good one to start off with though - had to have a volumetric climb-down with a 6% and 4% to follow. Either that or roll home uphill, blind. Check the cheesy pun on the cask - (my own literary skilz) and the fact that they left off my logo!
The Factoryroad beer was disappointing, yellowy and weak, with a funny after taste. Its rubbish taste though was slightly offset by the magnificent punuendo in the name of the beer, so all wasn't lost. Check Factoryroad's label. Again the creators had clearly been on the sauce while they got the labels printed out, sat no doubt at a creaking PC with one eye on their glasses, mis-spelling, as they did, the word 'how' and casually inverting the logo so it sat in a weird black box.
Still, we're not (for once) here to crit the visuals. Who cared once the first couple were sunk?
If you want to find a real ale event where you live, you'd do no worse than to look here: http://www.camra.org.uk/
Holden's Brewery: http://www.holdensbrewery.co.uk
An alphabetical list of real ales and independent brewers in the UK: http://www.quaffale.org.uk