I think there’s something really important about choosing the right venue for a beer festival. When you go to a pub you want a nice atmosphere so the same should go for a beer festival. No more boring halls, please! The Derby Roundhouse was an utterly fantastic venue for the CAMRA National Winter Ales Festival. A gorgeous building that even had a lovely “mild peril” feature where there’s a window in the floor looking down into the depths of the old building. Witnessing a CAMRA volunteer shriek after realising she was stood on top of the terrifying floor window.
More beautiful buildings hosting beer festivals.
Less terrifying floor windows.
The festival had a fantastic range of beers (even though the token saison wasn’t ready whilst I was there ¬¬) though I wish I didn’t have to go to a winter ales festival just to get a good range of dark beers. Some highlights included Atom Beers’ Schrödinger’s Cat which reminded me of Gamma Ray, Citra and Hophead all smushed together. And 3.5%?! I was genuinely blown away.
Atom’s Schrödinger’s Cat and tasty expensive burgers from the food court. Floor table because as always not enough chairs/tables at a CAMRA festival.
Myself and Heidi ended up sat in the Carriage room (also known as Warm Carpet room) for a while because we valued our extremities.
We also fell head over heals for Brass Castle brewery who’s brewery bar was one of our favourite spots in the festival. Bad Kitty was deliciously smooth and creamy (and I still have some in my fridge), I was also a big fan of of the Hazelnut Mild (give me a mild and I’m a happy bunny) and I really wish I’d had the chance to try the rest of the range. I also had a sample of the Wallop from it’s wooden cask: smooth and malty with a big whisky hit, would love to try it again.
I’d also recommend checking out the Brunswick Inn just down the road. Before the festival we went for a bowel of chips and a couple of brews. I really enjoyed the White Feather and would definitely like to see more of this old school brewery.
Obligatory goofy belfie.