The (Slightly Not Sober ) Beer Blog


Here are my notes from a beer festival I attended back last summer. Apologies to all involved. Tasting reviews are my opinion only.

Some of this might have made perfect sense at the time.


I get off the train along with my youngest sibling, and walk through the city centre towards the picturesque riverbank which is the location of the beer festival. A straggle of ale-filled people are already exiting the white tented venue with a  glaze of contentment on their ruddy cheeked faces.

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At some point we meet up with my sibling’s friend. Spotting them through the crowds by the bright yellow jacket they are wearing -despite the warm weather.

We walk into another area, where a band are playing a swing version of 4-non-blondes’ ‘What’s up?It’s not a bad tune.

Apparently we should go to Scotland to brew our own ale. Sounds like a great idea. (?)

We leave my sibling’s friend to chat up some ladies. Not sure what their boyfriends stood next to them were saying!

So to the most notable ales:

Cream Tea Deconstructed-it was strange. Fruit cake and tea.

I am not a fruit beer-no ‘I’m a vegetable, but tastes like fruit beer’. Very strange, made from beetroot. My sibling commented ‘it’s actually poisonous!’

Bitter Invention of Satan-okay. 8.6% abv. Strong taste of alcohol!

Gravediggers Ale-meh!

Brexit-a bit fizzy

Old Crow Porter– 🙂

Note:Sobriety  going south from here.

Red Spider-pale and fizzy

Four Go Wild in the Fens-Oh My Gods. Bloody awful! Had to stop myself spitting this one out.


The rest were okay. We did not find anything outstanding, or particularly nice. Often brews we expected to be rich and complex  were weak, and mediocre.


On the train awaiting debarkation (is this a word-in a dictionary?) to our home town.

Okay, I think this started at the Falcon (pub). Is this one of those clever, stupid, clichéd novels that start at the end, then has a clearer  twist at the end? No!

On train back, suitably pickled. Might get some coherent thoughts day after  imbibing fermented grain and hops  products.

Post festival house party, we have mini ale testing which proves more palatable.

Antwerpen-yummy, rich, chocolaty and very strong-8%

Wychwood-Arrowaine-a nice mild, light chocolaty brew


I am feeling rather queasy now.

So, was 2017 just a bad year for dark ale, or had we left it too late and all of the good chewable ales had sold out? I have attended on the last day in previous years and still found some decent brews, and a couple of the best ales I have ever tasted. A memorably delicious Hunter S Thompson inspired ale tasted like alcoholic sweet dark soy sauce with hints of coffee.


There was more, but photos, & my drunken text messages to myself & my other half  were on my now deceased old phone, so now lost. Perhaps for the best!


Book Review Forgotten Things-Stephen Mullaney-Westwood

I loved that this story is set in early 1980s, with many references to my own childhood. Geeking-out on books about unexplained Mysteries, wandering through woods, listening to my Dad’s tales, & hunting ghosts in abandoned buildings. Yes, we did pretend to be Ghost Busters!
Forgotten ThingsForgotten Things by Stephen Mullaney-Westwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I felt as if I was pixie-led into this book. The reader, along with the main character Adam, is lead into the woodland world of the fae. The writing is lyrical, as full of life as the woods, and captures the sense of magic and wonder, and also the danger and mystery.
Through young Adam’s eyes we see, feel, taste, smell and hear the woods, and glimpse the creatures which inhabit them. The voice of each character is distinct, yet filtered through the young boy’s perspective. We see them as he does, but also the reality from the older Adam recalling events. Narrative from his older self foregrounds more sinister events to come. This novel was both enchanting, and disturbing with a macabre twist.
The first person past tense is descriptive. Through young Adam’s eyes we see, feel, taste, smell and hear the woods, and glimpse the creatures which inhabit them. Reading the first half of this book is an immersive experience, rather like a path-working into the woods. Then, as events unravel, we are pulled back into the real (or rather the ‘mundane’) world to see the repercussions of when our human world and the Faery’s realm collide.
While the ending perfectly rounds off the story,with Adam understandably changed by his experiences, it left me with a sense of melancholy.
Like faeries, this story is filled with magic and wonder, but also has a darker side.

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I’m looking forward to reading more of Stephen Mullany-Westwoods books. I already have the short story collection Unforgotten Tales, and I’m lucky to have won a signed copy of his latest book Paradise Shift . I’ll probably read them while listening to some of his music, for an immersive experience.

He  has a cool YouTube channel with videos on nature, writing, retro toys, and dark fantasy movies.

BOOK REVIEW-SciFan™ Magazine February 2017- R.M. Mulder

A great mix of the sci-fi/ fantasy genre. And there’s a preview of a TheSecretKing story  by Dawn Chapman.

SciFan™ Magazine February 2017: A Science Fantasy Digital EditorialSciFan™ Magazine February 2017: A Science Fantasy Digital Editorial by R.M. Mulder

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Something for every sci-fi & fantasy fan. An eclectic mix of short stories, teasers & serials from sci-fi on an alien planet, high fantasy, steam punk, to supernatural detective noir. I look forward to reading the other issues.

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