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1st Spa Valley Railway Beer Festival (Beer Festival)

Beer (sort)Average Score (sort)No. Samples (sort)
Acorn - Old Moor PorterExceptional1
Old Dairy - Silver TopExceptional2
Dark Star - American Pale Ale (some has also been brewed by Fuller's)Exceptional1
Elgood's - Black Dog MildExceptional1
Larkins - PorterExceptional2
Moorhouse's - Black Cat MildExcellent1
Tonbridge - Ebony MoonExcellent1
Rudgate - Ruby MildExcellent1
Tonbridge - RusticExcellent2
Rother Valley - SmildExcellent1
Westerham - Westerham FlyerExcellent2
Moorhouse's - Pendle Witches BrewExcellent1
Kent - Black GoldExcellent1
Black Cat - OriginalGood1
Moodley - Winter Solstice (Bottle Conditioned)Good1
Kent - CobnutAcceptable1
Springhead - Bramley BitterAcceptable1
Royal Tunbridge Wells - HarvestAcceptable1

Visits Details

23 Oct 2011 (Alenomore)
02nd visit. I thought it was so good on the Saturday, and the weather so good today, I'd go back again and see the steam trains. Plenty of ales left too. I left at 1545, but, I did hear later in Maidstone, from a pal that left a bit later, that they were giving the beer away? May it continue...
Larkins - Porter5.20ExceptionalAn A1 dark type, and rarely seen.
Dark Star - American Pale Ale (some has also been brewed by Fuller's)4.70ExceptionalOn top form here. A real winner.
Elgood's - Black Dog Mild3.60ExceptionalAnother top class Mild.
Old Dairy - Silver Top4.50ExceptionalSuperb.
Moorhouse's - Black Cat Mild3.40ExcellentAnother good to find Mild.
Rudgate - Ruby Mild4.40ExcellentA very worthy champion ale.
Kent - Black Gold4.00ExcellentSpeaks for itself.
22 Oct 2011 (Martin the Mildman)
First effort by West Kent CAMRA and the Spa Valley Railway. Well run and beers divided up between Tunbridge Wells West, Groombridge and Eridge stations and a couple on the train linking the whole thing up.
Larkins - Porter5.20ExcellentA benchmark classic porter against which others should be judged. Sweetish malt flavours of chocolate and toffee balanced by bitter hoppiness leading to a fruity finish. My score 17/20.
Tonbridge - Rustic4.00ExcellentThis one was to be found in the waiting room at Eridge which was a little warmer. Good all round flavour in this bronze coloured bitter. Some toffee malt and a little spicy hop combine to give a good flavour profile. Good malty finish. My score 16/20.
Black Cat - Original4.20GoodBack to Eridge waiting room for this one, with a good balance of hop and malt, with sweet malt just getting the edge. Malty finish. My score 15/20.
Westerham - Westerham Flyer4.00GoodA better sample than my previous finding, with the citrus hops coming through despite the low beer temperature. My score 15/20 with B for quality (temp).
Moodley - Winter Solstice (Bottle Conditioned)3.30GoodA special brew for the beer festival from nano brewery Moodley's of Penshurst. The brewery is so small its brewlength is mainly for bottling. This was a porter style beer with berry fruit flavours and some roast malt. A dryish finish. My score 15/20.
Kent - Cobnut4.10AcceptableUnfortunately this beer was suffering from the cold as well, being served from Groombridge platform so all the flavour was tipped towards nutty crystal malt and little balancing hop flavours. Dry nutty finish. My score 14/20 with B for quality (temp).
Springhead - Bramley Bitter3.80AcceptableServed on board the train en route to Eridge. A fairly dry bitter with some citrus hop flavour and a dry finish. My score 14/20.
Royal Tunbridge Wells - Harvest4.10AcceptableServed from the Goods Shed at Tunbridge Wells West. It was cold in there! So beer wasn't quite at ideal temperature. This one was quite bitter and dry tasting with a fresh hop flavour as to be expected from a green hopped ale. My score 14/20 with B for quality (temp).
22 Oct 2011 (Alenomore)
The Spa Valley Railways first beer festival, in conjunction with the West Kent branch of CAMRA. Most of the 30+ ales were found in the main West Station building with some more ales on at Groombridge and Eridge stations too. The ale selection was very good and served from stillages and in top condition. A good crowd turned out and rides were taken on the three Heritage Diesel hauled train services, which were very popular. A good day out. And Sundays event will see Steam hauled Heritage trains, which, no doubt, will draw an even bigger crowd?
Acorn - Old Moor Porter4.40ExceptionalAnother top Porter. Sampled this one on Eridge Station.
Old Dairy - Silver Top4.50ExceptionalA new ale for me and a very decent Stout. Sampled back at West Station.
Westerham - Westerham Flyer4.00ExceptionalA recent new ale from Westerham and served in excellent condition here. Again, on at West Station.
Rother Valley - Smild3.80ExcellentA very decent Mild. Found this one on Groombridge Station.
Moorhouse's - Pendle Witches Brew5.10ExcellentAlways worth finding. A very decent ale, my last here, found at West Station.
Tonbridge - Ebony Moon4.20ExcellentA very nice Porter to start the day. On at West Station.
Tonbridge - Rustic4.00ExcellentA tasty deep bronze ale. Another ride back to Eridge to get this one.

About the 1st Spa Valley Railway Beer Festival

Summary of Beer Scores



The Beer Festival is found in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN2 5QY.

The Spa Valley Railway is a preserved heritage railway running between the old Tunbridge Wells West station and Eridge with stops at High Rocks and Groombridge. Diesel and steam hauled trains run between these stations mainly at weekends and holiday times. Check the website for full event details.

We have visited this Beer Festival 3 times, seen 18 different beers and tried them all.

Map location

Postcode: TN2 5QY