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Reading Beer Festival 2009 (CAMRA Beer Festival)

Beer (sort)Average Score (sort)No. Samples (sort)
Pitstop - ChicaneGood2
Ascot - Anastasia's Imperial StoutExceptional1
Binghams - Bingham StoutExcellent1
Brodie's (latterly contract brewed by Rhymney) - MildExcellent1
Devon Earth - Lost in the WoodsExcellent1
Earl Soham - Gannet MildExcellent1
Elland - AmnesiaExcellent1
Exeter - Avocet AleExcellent1
Kirkby Lonsdale - Ruskin'sExcellent1
Norfolk Square - PiExcellent1
Pictish - AtlasExcellent1
Prescott - Hill ClimbExcellent1
Ramsgate Brewery (Gadds') - Dragon's Blood ESBExcellent1
Stringers - Dry StoutExcellent1
Thornbridge / Thornbridge Hall - KiplingExcellent1
Ulverston - CelebrationExcellent1
Aston - Rotunda RedGood1
Backyard - Dandelion & Burdock PorterGood1
Downton - Chocolate Orange DelightGood1
Driftwood Spars - Lou's BrewGood1
Farnham - William CobbettGood1
Forge - DrecklyGood1
Hunter's - Crack ShotGood1
Little Ale Cart - Fair MaidGood1
Mallinsons - Black Mambo No. 5Good1
Mallinsons - Let There Be HopsGood1
Mallinsons - Marina MildGood1
Storyteller - Tell TaleGood1
Altarnum (formerly Penpont) - RoughtorAcceptable1
Bewdley - Old SchoolAcceptable1
Downton - Nelson's DelightAcceptable1
Epicurus Craft Beer (formerly Hornbeam) - Polska BitterAcceptable1
Hunter's - Pheasant PluckerAcceptable1
Monty's - MoondanceAcceptable1
Otley - OPAAcceptable1
Pictish - AgaveAcceptable1
Quantock - Quantock AleAcceptable1
Teignworthy - Martha's MildAcceptable1
Thornbridge / Thornbridge Hall - Sensoria IIAcceptable1
Epicurus Craft Beer (formerly Hornbeam) - Lemon BlossonPoor1
Potbelly - AmbrosiaPoor1
Picture 1. Reading Beer  Festival 2009, Reading, Berkshire

Visits Details

01 May 2009 (Mick Northants)
Earl Soham - Gannet Mild3.30Excellent
Ramsgate Brewery (Gadds') - Dragon's Blood ESB5.20Excellent
Exeter - Avocet Ale3.90Excellent
Kirkby Lonsdale - Ruskin's3.90Excellent
Norfolk Square - Pi3.80Excellent
Prescott - Hill Climb3.80Excellent
Brodie's (latterly contract brewed by Rhymney) - Mild3.60Excellent
Ulverston - Celebration3.90Excellent
Forge - Dreckly5.50Good
Hunter's - Crack Shot3.80Good
Little Ale Cart - Fair Maid4.00Good
Storyteller - Tell Tale3.80Good
01 May 2009 (Mick Northants)
A crowded beer festival
Binghams - Bingham Stout5.00Excellent
Devon Earth - Lost in the Woods4.70Excellent
Farnham - William Cobbett4.50Good
Pitstop - Chicane7.00Good
Driftwood Spars - Lou's Brew5.00Good
30 Apr 2009 (Ian)
Well I met up with Chris from Ratebeer and pretty soon after getting in the queue we were in. We sat in the second of the two tents and tried new breweries, new beers and chatted with the locals on our table about possible beers to try. Still one of my top UK festivals. So much to choose, so easy to get to and being able to drink thirds is great. Finished the night drinking Augustiner Edelstoff on draught with Olaf who brings in the German beers for Camra festivals. The lager to prove that lagers can be great.
Ascot - Anastasia's Imperial Stout8.00ExceptionalBeer of the festival for me Black, thick and unctious, thin tan head. Really good. Enormously good. Good hops to balance. Rich tarry dark malts, kinda sweet, just so lovely, really impressed. Very intense dark choc. Swallow and finish are brilliant, really sing. Stands up alongside many a US impy stout and very much in that vein
Thornbridge / Thornbridge Hall - Kipling5.20ExcellentJust such lovely lime fruit with bit of tropical juice. Lovely.
Stringers - Dry Stout4.50ExcellentAlso known as No. 2 stout. One of the best beers of the first day. Black, big lasting tan head. Very roasty aroma. Very roasted overall. I liked it. Good fullness, lovely dark choc.
Elland - Amnesia5.60ExcellentGold, no head. Hop and I thought butter on the aorma. Good hops through out, bit earthy, bit citrusy, some grapefruit, and a nice bite about the beer. It’s fullish and very drinkable.
Pictish - Atlas5.00ExcellentPretty looking beer. Sherberty hop, really quite biting. Great condition. Enormously drinkable lovely sharp fruit.
Mallinsons - Marina Mild4.00GoodAlmost black/dark brown, no head. Very choccy for a mild. Mild aroma. Very simple and easy drinking on the palate.
Mallinsons - Let There Be Hops5.30GoodHazy orangey gold, fading off white head. Certainly sweetly hoppy on aroma. It’s ok, lots of hops, but definitely had hoppier beers, Brew Dog Hardcore IPA for example. Sweet resin. Bit earthy. Good, but doesn’t blow me away.
Mallinsons - Black Mambo No. 54.00GoodBlack, dark brown edges, lasting beige. Deent dark roasted flavours, dark roasted malt, tad smokey. Bit of bite on finish. Good dark mild. Good choc, nice fullness.
Downton - Chocolate Orange Delight5.80GoodNot really expecting to like this, but it’s good. Very deep chestnut colour/mahogany, lasting beige head. Smells like an orange kitkat. Bit of wafer. It is rather chocolatey in the mouth, actually it’s very nice and grew on me after the initial hit of intensity. Bit of spice on swallow. Nice.
Backyard - Dandelion & Burdock Porter4.30GoodVery very dark brown. Quite lasting beige head. Vinous dark fruity aroma. A little rubbery maybe. Good blackberry blackcurrant fruit throughout. A bit of tar, but I like the cab sauv qualities.
Aston - Rotunda Red4.80GoodVery deep brown colour, lasting beige head. Yeast and malt on aroma. Reminds me of something. Reddish fruit here. Harsh redcurrant. Not what I was expecting. Daraker, meaner and fruitier than I expected. Interesting.
Pitstop - Chicane7.00AcceptableOne of 3 impy stouts that this brewer brought to the festival. Very opaque dark brown/black, little head. Bit of acetone/plastic on aroma, with bit of choc. Sweetish in mouth, some syrup, dark syrup, some fruit and choc. Just a bit bizarre and Chris had to finish it.
Epicurus Craft Beer (formerly Hornbeam) - Polska Bitter4.10AcceptablePlum like aroma, bit of tea in the flavour. Very fruity in mouth, very fruity on finish, good plums throughout.
Hunter's - Pheasant Plucker4.30AcceptableDeep chestnut, lasting beige head. Bit of ashtray. It’s ok, smoke/ashtray. Bit of dark fruit on the malts.
Thornbridge / Thornbridge Hall - Sensoria II4.30AcceptableA new Thornbridge beer for me is a real event, so imagine my disappointment when this lacked some of the more interesting flavours, aromas and qualities that the breweries other beers do. Lovely mid brown colour, lasting beige head. Soe soft citrus hop on aroma. OK malts in mouth. Toffee-ish. Some plummy fruit on finish. OK, but not as exciting as some of their other beers.
Teignworthy - Martha's Mild5.30AcceptableVery dark brown, almost black. Liquorice type mild. Like Black Jack sweets. OK, but not really my thing.
Downton - Nelson's Delight4.50AcceptableClear gold, very lasting bubbly white head. Slightly yeasty on aroma. Not sure rum is very present. It’s got a bit of sweetness form the rum, yes definite edge to it, over a perfectly fine golden ale. Rather good.
Quantock - Quantock Ale3.80AcceptableYeasty, biscuit. Yeasty bitter, some toffee, but mostly a non descript bitter. Dullish
Otley - OPA4.60AcceptableGold/copper colour with a slight haze. Lasting thin beige head. Toasty malts. Supposed to be a spin off of an IPA. It’s a reasonably hoppy malty toasty beer. OK.
Altarnum (formerly Penpont) - Roughtor4.70AcceptableMid brown bitter colour with very lasting beige head. Odd flavoured strongish bitter. Bit of stone. It settles down into an ok premium bitter.
Pictish - Agave4.60AcceptableI approached this with some trepidation as Chris brought it back to the table. Clear pale gold, thin white head. The agavve is noticeable on aroma, but not unpleasant. OK in mouth, quite hoppy just not very stingy on finish. Bit lacking in malts. Very stingy on tongue. Sweet. Just not sure.
Monty's - Moondance4.00AcceptableCopper colour lasting beige head. Appley bitter aroma. It’s a bitter with green apple. Probably not quite ready to go on yet. Too tight on the tongue.
Bewdley - Old School3.80AcceptableGold/copper colour with lasting beige head. Looks in cracking condition. It’s a bitter. Some apple flavour. Bit tight on tongue. Some malt, touch of biscuit. Needs a day to be good I would guess. Bit of herb on the finish.
Epicurus Craft Beer (formerly Hornbeam) - Lemon Blosson3.70Poor Gold, very carbonated by the looks of it, thin white head. Eeech, that’s not a good start. Bit of biscuit malt. Not good, odd buttery flavour
Potbelly - Ambrosia4.00PoorPretty chestnut colour. Caramel malty in mouth. Syrupy malt. Not wonderful

About the Reading Beer Festival 2009

Summary of Beer Scores


The pub is found in Reading, Berkshire, RG1 8BN.

Third biggest UK CAMRA beer festival. Great location only 10 mins walk from the railway station, in King's Meadow. Yes the queues mean that you need to get there within an hour or two of opening time, but if you make the effort the list of new breweries, new/interesting beers all at third, half and full pint measures, make this a great festival. Two large marquees with plenty of outdoor space for seating make this a really good festival. Cider, perry champion of the year is judged and announced here as well as a decent size foreign bar.

We have visited this pub 3 times, seen 41 different beers and tried them all.

Map location

Postcode: RG1 8BN