And I suspect that's why my standout beer of the festival was Mont Nude Lager: in part because it's a superb helles, with all the gentle softness that goes with, but also because I drank it late on the last evening when it was exactly what I needed.
Similarly Rye River, who stole the show with their specials just like at Alltech last February, managed to squeeze in a Vienna Lager and a Double Decoction Märzen, both of which hit the perfect clean lager profile squarely in the centre with the right amount of malt heft. I've never known of an Irish microbrewery doing decoction mashing, but they were at it again with a Triple Decoction Doppelbock, again right on the stylistic button, all chocolate and caramel. Last of the four Day One lagers was a Baltic Porter which I thought lighter and sweeter than the ones I tasted in Poland in April. 6% ABV is a little low for the style, isn't it?
|Rye River Watermelon Wheat|
Two new beers under Rye River's McGargle's marque also made their début at the stand: Toothless Dec's Brown Ale is a straightforward light, sweet and caramelly brown; while Francis's Big Bangin' IPA really turned a few heads, being a pale coloured, 7.1% ABV west coast-style IPA. I could certainly see the resemblance to beers like BrewDog's Jackhammer, and it was served fantastically fresh, but there was an overlay of savoury onion that spoilt it for me.
So that's two of the fifty or so stalls covered. We'll explore further next time.