So, Tap Takeover – Brighton’s biggest craft beer festival – is over for another year. And quite a large part of me is left wishing that a dozen creative breweries descended on the city’s pubs with their best brews in tow every weekend.
Throughout the three days of the festival I did my best to taste beer from as many of the breweries as I could, and I stumbled across some definite highlights. Garden Brewery, based in Croatia delivered a stand-out Citrus IPA – a full-bodied, golden-caramel, hop-fruit cream with a snatchy, lingering bitterness; Wylam‘s Brodirblod (just don’t ask me to pronounce it!) – a collaboration with previous Fermentation Radio Show guests, Northern Monk – was a rye and juniper feast that left me glowing from somewhere deep down inside; and, of course, the Fermentation Radio Show x Two Tribes collaboration New England Pale was a gem I could be proud of – so much so that it sold out at the Mesmerist within a few short hours!
I managed to record interviews with six of the breweries: Wylam (Newcastle), Edge (Barcelona), Garden (Croatia), Fierce (Aberdeen), Boundary (Belfast) and White Hag (Sligo), and you’ll be able to hear these on the Fermentation Radio Show very soon (make sure you don’t miss the Irish guys – they were a lot of fun!). But I also managed to interview some of the other people whose diverse stories make an event like this quite so special. For example, I caught up with Elaine from Bitter Women – a meet-up group for LGBT women who enjoy real ale and craft beer – to talk about what inspired her to set up the group, and what kind of beery shenanigans its members get up to. And I rounded off my festival by chatting to beer writer, Adrian Tierney-Jones, the new editor of Original Gravity Magazine, about the last twenty years – and the next twenty years – of our favourite beverage. Again, you’ll be able to catch up with those interviews on the Fermentation Radio Show very soon.
Many thanks must go to the Beer Collective and the Laine Brew Co for filling Brighton with so many pints of good cheer. And an extra vote of thanks goes to the weather, which graced us with the kind of sunshine it usually reserves for Brighton Pride or the last night of the Festival. Which can surely mean only one thing: Tap Takeover – a celebration of the contemporary art of beer and brewing – has been accepted as a true Brighton institution.