One such beery assemblage took place recently, in Clitheroe. Yes, the tenth, East Lancashire CAMRA organised beer festival, rolled into town. Always a superbly run event by the local CAMRA branch. An event growing in popularity, year by year.
The venue, at the St Mary's Centre, is ideally situated in the town centre and just a short stroll from the bus and railway station.
It was a real hive of activity, as me and my beery comrade, Bob Fletcher strolled(Bob strolls) through the hallway. The place being already packed, early Saturday afternoon, with thirsty beer "aficionados", slurping some of the seventy cask ales on offer.
The barrels were all neatly arranged in a long line and in alphabetical order. However, this is where I needed help. As I can't see what is printed on the labels. Worry not, "carer",Bob(pictured above,with the red braces), and the helpful volunteers, are always at your service.
First ale I plumped for, was the local Bowland Brewery, Black Dragon Porter. It didn't disappoint. A robust, complex flavoured ale. Dark fruits, bitter chocolate - even a tad vinous. Usual taste bud tingler, from the Clitheroe brewer - a Bowland belter.
As always, at these gatherings, the volunteers make the festival what it is. And this jolly band were being superbly marshalled by the organiser, Martin Snelling. He was undertaking his manic schedule with aplomb. A self-assured, affable man. Who must have covered more miles that afternoon, than
Mo Farrah does on a long training session.
Martin said: "It had been a great first day and we are on course for a record attendance at the festival. The place is packed once more, enjoying the beers from around the UK."
One beer I had to try, was the Highland Brewery,Orkney Blast. It was a strong 'un at 6%. Described as a barley wine in the programme. No, just a fine, English strong ale for me(Old Ale). Generous dose of malt and bitter citrus flavours. Orange marmalade in charge and honey sweet. A very moreish, strong,complex flavoured ale - straight down to 'ur boots!
This Clitheroe two day event, was once again, a most enjoyable experience. It's most certainly one of the highlights in the Ribble Valley social calendar. Messrs. Snelling and Co. have forged a festival,
that the locality and beyond, can be proud of - long may it continue.