South Downs Beer and Cider festival

8.30pm and the bar area is fairly quiet as England fumble in South Africa


Working at a beer festival is a great way to drink for free, just don’t get too drunk, remember that serving the paying customers is key.
On top of that they feed you for nothing, if you work a full session, and as I’m over 60 now, I get to travel to and from Lewes for free with my bus pass.
Life has never been so good.
Favourite shirts:
Many of the volunteer staff seemed to be wearing a version of an England shirt, but white synthetic fibres do nothing for me. Better was a group of 5 guys each wearing a different Hawaiian shirt in bold patterns and colours, you might spot one or two in the photo. But my favoutite had to be a simple black t-shirt with the caption ‘My other body is a temple’.
As usual I met many volunteers from other regular beer festivals, notably Glastonwick and Sussex, including the security brothers – Derek and Tony. Tony said he had suffered a minor heart attack and collapsed at the Sussex Beer Festival. Sturdy fellow, back on the job, but unlike Derek he didn’t seem to be drinking.
Some American hops are being created with very strong and florid or citrus flavours. One such is Amarillo, used in the delicious Crouch Vale Brewery Amarillo golden ale. This kind of distinctively bred hop was described to me as the skunk of hops – a nice term given the genetic closeness of the hop and cannabis.
A novel feature this year was selling beer in halves, pints or thirds, this last allowing punters to sample more of the 75 beers available without falling over, and with a greater chance of remembering what they were like.
My favourite beers? Thornbridge Brewery ‘Kipling’ bitter was another featuring those New World hops, and one of the few to sell out whilst I was there. The Orkney brewery ‘Dark Island’ stout with strong chocolate malt was also excellent, and I’d like to mention Kissingate brewery’s (new and in Crawley) Old Time porter; as the tasting notes say, ‘deep intense flavours using a blend of chocolate and amber malts’.

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