Friday, 1 August 2008

Tollemache Arms Beer Festival

There was a time not so long ago when a beer festival at a pub was a rare and exotic event. These days, particularly during the Summer months, it seems there's rarely a weekend when there isn't a pub beer festival within a reasonable distance, and we've attended a fair few of them over the last few years.

Putting on a few extra barrels of beer of a weekend is one thing, but making it a weekend to remember takes a little more effort. Of the beer festivals at pubs we've attended over the last few years, one or two have stood out from the crowd and become part of our annual social calendar.

Brigstock Beer Festival, a charitable village event just up the road from us, has been a really good day out for us, and we have a bit of a soft spot for the Cherry Tree Beer Festival in Market Harborough, a thoroughly local event with a good atmosphere.

Last year's Tollemache Arms Beer Festival was a bit of an unknown to us, but we were asked to supply a couple of barrels of cider so I felt obliged to attend for the Friday evening session. I decided to cycle to the festival, a brave and stupid decision in equal measures as it was a little further than I'd initially thought! Thankfully I was rewarded with a fine Summer evening, supping local ales, and listening to the excellent Welland Valley Stompers in the beer garden of a lovely thatched village local.

The Tollemache Arms Beer Festival is probably not one for the really serious beer enthusiast. The ale range at last year's event included two local breweries (Potbelly & Great Oakley), a range of Wells & Youngs beers, and several real ales sourced from some of Englands more well-known breweries. Rare or quirky ales are not what this festival is about. This is a chance for villagers and visitors to enjoy all that's best about the great British country pub. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, with good barbecued food, a good range of fine ales, and local ciders.

We will be supplying our Rockingham Forest Cider for the festival again this year, and will also be supplying cider to the Tollemache Arms sister pub, the Hare & Hounds, Great Addington, which is having it's own beer festival the following weekend. If it's anything like as good as the Tollemache Arms, we may be adding this to our busy Summer social calendar.

The top picture shows the spectacular Summer evening sky from the garden during last year's Tollemache Arms Beer Festival. The second pic features one of the lovely 'Tollemache Arms Girls' serving during the festival.

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