I had a fantastic time at Shropshire Oktoberfest yesterday. Held by Shropshire Festivals, it’s a mini festival centred around beer, so I was in my element. Just like Beer Central a couple of weeks back, the bars were mainly staffed by members of the brewery team, so it was a great opportunity to get to know my locals a bit better.
My favourite little brewery I’d never heard of, I got a warm welcome from the team. Based in Bewdley, Worcestershire, they are brewing consistently high quality beers named for local figures and their town’s history. I loved the William Mucklow’s Dark Mild, but at 6% I was only having a taste! Really rich and smooth, with a nice fruity flavour and great body. Delicious. And William Mucklow was the last commercial brewer in Bewdley before them, who stopped brewing in 1912.
Also well worth looking out for their Red Hill red ale, which has great fruit flavour and an interesting red triangle of a hill silhouette on the label! This was named the Overall Champion at their recent SIBA regional competition, and certainly has the flavour to back that up. Finally, I plumped for the Baldwin IPA. A 4.2% golden pale with some great citrus and pine flavours. Probably my IPA of the day in a crowded field.
Dry By Choice is a new bottle shop that will be opening in Shrewsbury soon, but already has an excellent online offering. They had some great stuff on offer if you wanted to take it easy on the alcohol. I’m gutted I didn’t have chance to drop back at the end and pick up a can of Bristol Beer Factory’s Clear Head. Their beers are usually incredibly good, so I am interested to see how their low alcohol offering tastes.
Tucked up in their horse box, Fairy Glen were serving beers and smiles in equal measure. I had the Hair of the Dog IPA and I have to be honest, while it started off OK, as the beer warmed in my cup I started to pick up a few notes of pear drop, which wasn’t overly great.
Predominantly lager brewers based in Manchester and North Wales, Geipel are making some really fantastic quality beers. I plumped for their dark wheat beer, because when in Rome and all that. It was a great choice to finish off my day. Lovely body and strong ester notes of bubblegum, clove and banana. Absolutely delicious and well balanced with the malt giving depth and character.
This Wrexham-based brewery has a great range, and the Green One session IPA that I tried was a great start to my festival. Really excellent citrus tones and a nice gently balancing bitterness. Another SIBA winner – this time gold in the regionals. 10/10 would drink again and I hope to find more in a pub near me.
A relative heavyweight here in Shropshire, Three Tuns is one of the Famous Four, one of the original brewhouses still in operation when CAMRA was founded in 1971. I have already enjoyed a few of their beers since moving to the county, and their 3.8% Best was just the ticket to keep things light during Oktoberfest. Lovely team, friendly brewers and more fantastically consistent beers. Highly recommend it if you spot their beers out and about. I’m looking forward to getting over to Bishop’s Castle to see it all for myself.
I had a press pass to Oktoberfest, but I’m afraid my opinions of the beers are not influenced by such things.