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Kent Beer Festival 2008 (CAMRA Beer Festival)

Beer (sort)Average Score (sort)No. Samples (sort)
Thornbridge / Thornbridge Hall - JaipurExceptional2
Dark Star - American Pale AleExceptional3
Skinner's - Betty Stogs BitterExcellent1
Shepherd Neame - Oyster StoutExcellent2
Saltaire - BitterExcellent1
Cairngorm - Trade WindsExcellent1
Oakham - JHBExcellent2
Dark Star - Espresso StoutExcellent2
Elgood's - Black Dog MildExcellent2
Oakham - White DwarfExcellent1
Dark Star - Hophead (some also brewed by Fuller's)Excellent1
White Horse - Black Horse PorterExcellent1
Oakleaf (now see Fallen Acorn entries) - Hole HeartedExcellent1
Castle Rock - Black GoldGood1
Swannay (formerly Highland) - Orkney BestGood1
Goacher's - Silver StarGood2
Loddon - Gravesend Shrimpers BitterGood1
Ramsgate Brewery (Gadds') - Alex Steltner's AleGood1
Skinner's - Cornish BlondeGood1
Orkney (Sinclair) - Dark MunroGood1
Acorn - Barnsley BitterGood1
Westerham - Summer PerleGood1
Hadrian and Border - Tyneside BlondeAcceptable1
Country Life - Golden PigAcceptable1
Swannay (formerly Highland) - St Magnus AleAcceptable1
Hepworth - Summer AleAcceptable1
Hanlons (formerly O'Hanlon's) - Gold BladeAcceptable1
Fyne - Piper's GoldAcceptable1
Abbeydale - MatinsAcceptable1
Hopdaemon - Green DaemonAcceptable1
Enville - Saaz (aka Czechmate, Wheat, White)Acceptable1
Dartford Wobbler (re-named from Millis) - Dartford WobblerAcceptable1
Okell's - MildAcceptable1
Matthew's - BrassknockerAcceptable1
Country Life - Pot WallopAcceptable1
Ossett - Silver KingPoor1
Coach House - Posthorn PremiumPoor1
North Yorkshire - Golden GinsengPoor1
Dartford Wobbler (re-named from Millis) - Oast Shoveller's BitterUndrinkable1
Picture 1. Kent Beer Festival 2008, Canterbury, Kent

Visits Details

19 Jul 2008 (Ian)
Met up with Andrew and Adrian and came up here. I now think that 3 days at a beer festival is just too much for me.
BeerABVScoreNotes
Abbeydale - Matins3.60AcceptableClear gold, thin white head. Drinkable enough slightly dry/earthy, some citrus sting on end. Juicy malt. Fine.
Hadrian and Border - Tyneside Blonde3.90AcceptableSlight haze gold. Bit of farty yeast. Bit yeasty throughout. Not great. Too yeasty. Some faint peachy citrus fruit.
Hepworth - Summer Ale3.40AcceptableGold, thin white head. Rose petal aroma, like a Belgian beer. OK condition. OK not wonderful. bit too much peach.
North Yorkshire - Golden Ginseng3.60PoorHazy gold, thin white head. Smells of plastic, maybe not ready. Pretty ugly beer. Probably needs time to settle. Some bitter lemon on finish. Not off, but just not very drinkable.
Dartford Wobbler (re-named from Millis) - Oast Shoveller's Bitter3.90UndrinkableGold, thin bubbly white head. That's grim. Woody, not right, even Andrew didn't like it. Green apple and not ready. Awful.
19 Jul 2008 (Blair)
Unfortunately there was very little beer left when I arrived at midday. Nothing really took my fancy so I spent most of the session on the foreign bottled beers. Still a great event though, had a great time.
BeerABVScoreNotes
Oakham - JHB3.80ExcellentGorgeous summer ale. Full of fruit and hops. My favourite out of the few beers I had.
Elgood's - Black Dog Mild3.60GoodVery nice mild with lots of roasted malt flavour. Nice one.
Okell's - Mild3.40AcceptableNot overly impressed. Very bland with very little going on. Gave up with the cask ales after this one.
19 Jul 2008 (Andrew)
Walked up from Canterbury with Ian and Adrian and got rained on. Even though it was 11.50 when we arrived they were letting people in so we didn't have to queue. As soon as we got in the shed it was clear that the Friday session had cained most of the beers. Good job I, (...and I can't believe I'm about to say this), good job I 'scooped' Goachers Silver Star yesterday. Anyway, shameful memories of scooping aside I enjoyed myself as usual.
BeerABVScoreNotes
Shepherd Neame - Oyster Stout3.70ExcellentGood condition, black, smoaky, burnt and with a hint of sweetness.
Acorn - Barnsley Bitter3.80GoodBrown bitter. Rich and slightly acrid.
Dartford Wobbler (re-named from Millis) - Dartford Wobbler4.30AcceptableRedy brown. Tasted rich and of red tart fruit. Hint of sherbert and perspex. Weirdly moreish but still a little odd.
Matthew's - Brassknocker3.80AcceptableExcellent condition and with a queue all of its own. Pale gold, rich, spicy and warm.
Country Life - Golden Pig4.70AcceptableHazy orange brown. Wheaty, acrid, intense, burnt. Like the Dartford Wobbled, strangly moreish
Ossett - Silver King4.30PoorRich but tart and with overtones of bile.
18 Jul 2008 (Ian)
Martin and I stayed overnight at the creaky Chaucer Hotel and enjoyed the luxury of not having to hurry anywhere. We walked up here and were joined by a whole host of people. I really enjoyed this session. Less busy than before. Ended up drinking far too much and falling off my bike on the way home.
BeerABVScoreNotes
Dark Star - American Pale Ale4.70ExceptionalCame back on at the end of the session. Still the best beer in the best nick here.
Thornbridge / Thornbridge Hall - Jaipur5.90ExcellentGood aroma of grapefruit, but when you've had it at the brewery tap, you get picky. Slight haze, should be fuller in mouth. Still good, but only a 4/5 as needs a touch more drinkability.
White Horse - Black Horse Porter5.00ExcellentBlack with thin tan head. Chocolatey lovely aroma. Quite full. Some almost rum malt. Very full in mouth, very intense choc. Good finish. Odd, bit of polyfila on the aroma. Really intense though
Saltaire - Bitter3.80ExcellentVery attractive clear amber, lasting thin off white head. Lovely biscuity malty aroma with some fruit. Cracking condition. Brilliant malty session bitter that just isn't made now. Nothing flashy, but it's just great. Lovely subtle fruit.
Shepherd Neame - Oyster Stout3.70GoodBlack, dark brown edges. Nice coffee-ish stout, roasty, really quite good for a Shep's beer, no real Shep's yeast. Not a lot of oyster, bit of fullness and richness on end maybe. It's reasonably light in the body. Tasty though.
Enville - Saaz (aka Czechmate, Wheat, White)4.20AcceptableClear pale gold, thin off white head. Quite sharp lemon, ascetic hop aroma. A pretty light beer. I think brewed with an ale yeast rather than a lager, some Saaz on aroma. Light drinking, no poor flavours.
Country Life - Pot Wallop4.40AcceptableSlight hazy gold, thin white head. Some decent almond/peach/apricot jam fruit flavour. It's a little peachy. Good condition. Just a little plain/odd.
Swannay (formerly Highland) - St Magnus Ale4.50AcceptableIt's a pretty fruity bitter, bit like a shandy on the carbonation. Bit of yeast, sulphur. some dry malt towards the end. Bit of spicy ginger. It's an ok bitter.
18 Jul 2008 (Brian)
Back again for the Friday lunchtime session. Not as busy as Thursday night. Here with Ian and Martin again, with guest appearance from Andrew, with support from Charlie and his dog Pepper. Also Pete and Lawrie seemed on good form. Great stuff.
BeerABVScoreNotes
Thornbridge / Thornbridge Hall - Jaipur5.90ExceptionalStarted off the day with a pint. Oh yes! Ian told it wasn't as good as it can be, but this was the first time that I'd tasted it and it was amazing. One percent less good than the Dark Star APA. Stinging grapefruit, bright golden, bit of prickle if not fizz, the alcohol is disguised but hints of it right at the end.
Dark Star - Hophead (some also brewed by Fuller's)3.80ExcellentMy notes by this time just said, "sweetish lovely". You know what I mean.
Westerham - Summer Perle3.80GoodAnother really good golden bitter. In fact I had nothing that was poor. The usual citrus was well balanced with sweet malt.
Dark Star - Espresso Stout4.20GoodStarted off as excellent, but I can't help feeling that putting coffee in your beer is a bit "gimmicky" - perhaps. Great body to this and the aroma is fantastic, but I'm not entirely convinced.
Hanlons (formerly O'Hanlon's) - Gold Blade4.00AcceptableAmber beer (sick if using the word golden). Drying, some fruit, OK if a bit bland.
Fyne - Piper's Gold3.80AcceptableGolden with weak head. Apple and pear aroma, thinnish finish. Definite over sweet pear on the end. Not horrible, but poor in comparison.
18 Jul 2008 (Andrew)
Lunchtimes are really not long enough to fit a beer festival into but I gave it a go. Great to see Ian, Brian, Pete, Charlie and Martin for, oh, all of 20 minutes. Also good to finally have a try at Goacher's Silver Star after months of reading about Ian drinking it and thinking, "Where's mine!".
BeerABVScoreNotes
Goacher's - Silver Star4.20GoodPale straw coloured beer. Quite spicy which implied to me that it just needed to mellow a bit in the barrel. Slight hint of Goacher's Light but mainly it tasted of Gold Star without the malt.
17 Jul 2008 (Ian)
This was very busy for a Thursday evening, several deep at the bar, especially at the cider and perry stand. Here with Martin and Brian. The Blondie tribute act were on again this year and still just as good.
BeerABVScoreNotes
Dark Star - American Pale Ale4.70ExceptionalJust stunning. Cascade hop grapefruit. Outstanding. Doubt I'll have a better beer in the next 3 days.
Oakham - White Dwarf4.30ExcellentOne of the best beers in Britain, great condition. Slightly soapy maybe, but I'm being picky.
Swannay (formerly Highland) - Orkney Best3.60GoodClear gold, really good condition. Really drinkable, golden bitter, decent hop on end, good balance. Plenty of flavour for a 3.6% beer. Pretty good.
Ramsgate Brewery (Gadds') - Alex Steltner's Ale4.40GoodAmber, thin beige head. Toffeeish malty aroma, very earthy Kent hops on finish and a bit of spice. Fairly typical Gadd's beer. Decent. OK condition. Good malts. Grows on you.
Orkney (Sinclair) - Dark Munro4.00GoodVery dark brown/ruby, lasting beige head. Some fruit. Good powdery coffee. Good ddark fruits blackberry/blackcurrants. Actually I pretty much like it. OK so not really intense, but it's got decent flavours.
Coach House - Posthorn Premium5.00PoorBit of haze on a golden beer. Thickish very lasting off white head. Odd aroma, bit cheesy, buttery aroma. Terrible aroma, cheesy in mouth. OK on finish. But it's got eggy aroma and its nasty.
17 Jul 2008 (Brian)
Came with Ian and Martin. It took 30 minutes to get my first pint in as it was pretty packed from the off. Really enjoyable evening.
BeerABVScoreNotes
Dark Star - American Pale Ale4.70ExceptionalThis was my first and best pint of the two days that I was there. Golden, bitter, fresh, with back of the throat sting, lemony with a drying finish. Loved it.
Oakham - JHB3.80ExcellentPrickly grapefruit and lemon. A little sulphur, but sherbert on the tongue. Great.
Oakleaf (now see Fallen Acorn entries) - Hole Hearted4.70ExcellentA little sulphur on the aroma. Another golden / amber beer with citrus notes and bittersweet finish, but this was better than most.
Cairngorm - Trade Winds4.30ExcellentThe floral fruit aroma is great. Bitter lemon in the mouth. The smell is stronger than the taste, but lovely nonetheless.
Loddon - Gravesend Shrimpers Bitter4.10GoodIn amongst all the golden, citrus bitters that I had was this. A very good standard, brown, clear bitter. Excellent condition and balance.
Goacher's - Silver Star4.20GoodBright golden beer. A bit of fierce tang and a foamy head. Excellent condition.
Hopdaemon - Green Daemon5.00AcceptableBit sweaty on the nose, toffeeish. OK and quite intersting, but with a slightly unpleasant cloying sweetness at the end.
17 Jul 2008 (Mick)
Back in the cow shed on a cool summers evening, and so many beers......
BeerABVScoreNotes
Dark Star - Espresso Stout4.20ExceptionalLast beer of the evening. Superb, rich and complex with a more pronounced coffee taste than I've had before, A perfect beer to end the day.
Elgood's - Black Dog Mild3.60ExcellentDark red/black sweet with a dry finish, excellent
Skinner's - Betty Stogs Bitter4.00ExcellentVery nice, traditional bitter with a lovely hop bite and a long finish
Castle Rock - Black Gold3.50GoodDark and full bodied, not to sweet, well balanced
Skinner's - Cornish Blonde5.00GoodPale with a thin white head, good hops with a lemony finish

About the Kent Beer Festival 2008

The pub sign. Kent Beer Festival 2008, Canterbury, Kent

Summary of Beer Scores

 Total
Exceptional5
Excellent12
Good13
Acceptable13
Poor3

Website.

The pub is found in Canterbury, Kent, CT4 7BA.

The 34th Kent Beer Festival held in a big cow shed on a farm at the edge of Canterbury. Great!

We have visited this pub 9 times, seen 39 different beers and tried them all.

Map location

Postcode: CT4 7BA