Peterborough Beer Festival: Things Have Changed
Those who read the New Musical Express in the 1980s and 1990s might be familiar with ‘Ive seen the future of rock’pieces.
I was at Peterborough Beer Festival on Wednesday and there is no doubt that if this isn’t the future then definitely things have changed.
For those unfamiliar the festival is held in tents in central Peterborough and is one of the biggest in the UK. It has several hundred cask beers and unlike the Great British Beer Festival which it follows on from it has a long standing tradition of showcasing new breweries and new beers.
So what has changed?
Certainly it was not an embracing of craft keg. But I knew things had changed when my first conversation after I arrived was with a CAMRA volunteer about whether a sour beer on cask was actually sour enough or whether another sour beer might be better.
In short the range of beers and beer styles, all on cask, at Peterborough has changed significantly.
Aside from the sours I enjoyed [thirds of] a lemon and lime double ipa from Arbor[8.2%] an imperial stout from Be(x)ar County, Papa Steve (9%) a rhubarb stout from Imperial and a saison from Nene Valley [7.2%].
If you drink regularly in the London craft beer scene these are the kind of beers you’d expect to find. But these beers feature usually on keg.
Here they were all on cask and in good condition.
I’m not exactly making a cask v keg point here.
Rather I’d say that the practice seems to have become that more interesting and unusual beers are most frequently to be found on keg rather than cask.
Peterborough this year has challenged this by showing that interesting beers, many strong, can be served in cask, done well and be very drinkable.
It is an argument about not cask v keg but a balancing out of the two where there has been something of a preference for keg.
In short whether inadvertently or not Peterborough beer festival has thrown down a gauntlet