Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Delapre Abbey Beer Festival

All cidery activity has ground to a halt. Long overdue surgery on my dodgy right knee, combined with a particularly nasty and virulent virus have left me a little short on fitness. I can't even hobble down the pub on crutches for fear of infecting the whole village, though I can consider myself lucky that both ailments have struck at the same time, meaning only one 'sick-absence bollocking' from the boss, rather than the two I would have got. Happy days!

So, in the absence of much else to occupy my time, this is perhaps as good a time as any to draw your attention to the 3rd Delapre Abbey Beer Festival, a relative newcomer on the CAMRA festival circuit, but in my opinion, one of the better beery (and cidery) days out.

The festival is an under-canvas affair set in the spacious parkland's of Delapre Abbey, a short walk from the centre of Northampton (passing the excellent Malt Shovel on the way). A good enough place to spend an hour or two of your time even without the attraction of around 150 beers, ciders, and perrys.

Beer festivals under canvas offer the chance to drink and chat in the great outdoors, and to me are much more pleasant affairs than those which take place indoors. The festival at Delapre Abbey is like a mini version of arguably the best beer festival of them all, the Peterborough Beer Festival, which takes place in several huge tents towards the end of August. Of course outdoor festivals are always at the mercy of the elements, and none more so than the one at Delapre Abbey which takes place during the early, unpredictable part of the summer. Many a fete or gala has fallen victim to a May deluge, and it's to be hoped that this years festival is blessed with a repeat of the fine weather we had last year.

The cider bar at last year's festival was relatively small, but with a good range easily sufficient for a days cider and perry drinking. This year it's hoped that all three of Northamptonshires commercial cider producers will be represented, Eve's of Kettering, Windmill Vineyard of Daventry, and our own Rockingham Forest Cider.

I've got four weeks to get my knee fit enough for the walk to Delapre Abbey. Hardcore physiotherapy is the only answer. Failure is not an option.

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