Sunday, 18 August 2013

2013 - Day Out 08: Worcester

Date: Saturday 10 August 2013

In April at the Stourbridge Beer Festival, I became a fully fledged CAMRA member and to take advantage of discounts to members I decide to visit another beer festival which is being held at Worcester racecourse.

The 14th Worcester Beer Festival
Disaster strikes before I even leave the house as vandalism on the line at Kidderminster means that there are no trains running between Kidderminster and Worcester, undeterred I make my way into Stourbridge and visit J D Wetherspoons, "The Chequers" to sample a traditional breakfast to help soak up the ale sampled at the beer festival. Breakfast eaten I make my way to Stourbridge Interchange, catching the Dodger to Stourbridge Junction, on the way I receive a phone call from Mr WME to inform me that the Great Malvern train has been cancelled and that he will be on the earlier train, luckily I arrive in time for the train to Kidderminster and meet up with Mr WME, Mr WME senior and Nickolenko. We arrive at Kidderminster and Mr D9 must have lent me his bladder as I need to visit the toilet straight away (and that is even with sampling no beer), so a visit to the Severn Valley Railway station is needed and after business is taken care off we make our way to the normal railway station to wait for our replacement coach to take us to Worcester. I light up to have some "fresh air" and lo and behold the coach arrives and pulls up mid break. We board our coach which takes us to Worcester via Droitwich and arrives at Worcester Foregate Street, just after 11.45am.

Three Walkers at The Berr Festival
We alight and make our way for the short walk to Worcester racecourse, the venue of the 14th Worcester beer, cider and perry festival, with Mr WME senior chatting about F1 along the way. We enter the venue and everyone has their 1/2 pint glasses in hand and for some reason I ended up with a pint glass. A photo is taken by Mr WME before we sample the ales and we are under way with beer tokens in hand to sample the ales. I look for the Ginger Tosser, but it eluded me that day, but when I said to Mr WME that I was looking for the Ginger Tosser, I don't think the bloke behind the bar was too impressed with me, it was the barman with ginger hair! The first ale is sampled and I have a pint of the Settles Signal Light, in honour of the failure on the railway line earlier, whilst Mr WME Senior has the Black Hill Stout, Nickolenko has the Plum Dunkelweizen and Mr WME has the Exmoor Beast. We find a picnic table in the huge tent and take our seat for the afternoon, see picture right. My Signal Light goes down well and we are off to sample the second ale of the day, I opt for a pint of the Cannon Royal's Blonde Bombshell, whilst Mr WME senior opts for Old Dairy's Gold Top, Nickelenko opts for the Ginger Doodle Stout and Mr WME has the Raspberry Wheat Beer.

Mr D9 is well catered for!

Mr D9 is catered for by his own loos!

The festival is stormed by Troopers!
Still full up from my breakfast, Mr WME senior and Mr WME have their packed lunch whilst Nickelenko has a good portion of the vegetable curry available at the festival. Whilst they are eating I opt for a visit to the facilities and Mr D9 even has the supplied toilets named after him, "Andyloos".  After some "fresh air" I make my way back to the table and finish off my Blonde Bombshell, before finding my next ale. Normally at festivals I would try different ales and not have any local brews which are always available for me at local pubs, but I decide to sample an Enville Ale beer which has eluded me all the years it has existed and opt for a pint of the Cherry Blonde, and Mr WME also samples the ale too, and what a wait it was with a distinctive taste of Cherry's. Mr WME senior samples Friday Gold and Nickelenko samples Clash London Porter. We take our seats again and as the festival gets busier we are treated to a gang of Stormtroopers, I make another visit and get a photo of the Stormtroopers, see picture left, who are enjoying the sun outside and after some more "fresh air", I make my way back inside. Nearly out of beer tokens, it is time to look for a last ale and Nickelenko kindly gives me some of his tokens so I can enjoy a last half at the festival, I opt for Monty's Desert Rat, Mr WME senior opts for a Joshua Jane (and also has enough tokens left to have a half of the Old Slug Porter), Nickelenko opts for a Exmoor Beast and Mr WME has a last half of Skullduggery.

Mr WME and Mr WME Senior!
With our last ales finished, we make our way to sample a few of the pubs in Worcester, but before we leave, Nickelenko, Mr WME and myself have a go on the tombola and I am the only one that wins a prize and opt for a Fullers beer towel. We make our way from the festival and head into the city, with our first inn being The Plough which is located on Fish Street and I show off my beer mat flipping skills and I opt for a beer mat advertising the beer festival we have just left. Drinks consumed we make our way to the next pub, which is The Cardinals Hat, a nice traditional pub, which is one of the oldest pubs in Worcester, next up we make a visit to King Charles II, a joint venture between the Sadlers and Craddocks breweries and was also the pub sponsoring the beer festival, seeing as it is owned by the local Stourbridge breweries it meant that we should visit the place with Mr WME senior opting to buy the round on this visit. Drinks purchased and we make our way upstairs and if feels like we are drunk as the floor and table didn't seem to be level.

Cheers from The Paul Pry!
We leave the King Charles II and make an unplanned visit to the pub next door, The Swan With Two Nicks, on our visit it was renamed The Swan With Three Nicks as Nickelenko was with us, we opt for Draught Bass and Malvern Hills Trevor Stout on this visit, see picture above right. I check Twitter and find out that the rail services are restored and running normally albeit with a few delays, so we have time to visit another couple of pubs before making our way back, and it is time to visit The Paul Pry, see picture left, which is located on The Butts and after that whilst we have time we visit our last pub of the day and whilst Nickelenko and Mr WME senior visit Tesco Express to get some food for the trip back, Mr WME and myself make our way to The Dragon, see pivture below; for our final pints of the day and we don't have too far to walk as it is located near to the Worcester Foregate Street railway station.

Cheers From The Dragon!

Cheers from The Dragon!

With the beer starting to take its toll we make our way back to the station and catch the 18:51 London Midland service back home with me saying goodbye and alighting at Stourbridge Junction before making my way on The Dodger and catching National Express West Midlands service X96 back to Wollaston and I get visit my local Chinese to get my traditional trip tea, but I opt for something different and decide to have a chinese curry.

Overall, a good day out sampling many different ales at the Worcester Beer Festival and visits to local public houses afterwards and even though the beer took its toll on me at the end of the day, it was a successful trip and a good beer festival.