By the time you read this, the National Winter Ales Festival will be underway. I was invited to the Trade session (honest!) but the thought of getting up for work tomorrow put me off so I'll be there from early afternoon on Friday.
The name always seems wrong to me. The first time I went I was thinking how can Thwaites' Mild be classed as a Winter Ale? Shouldn't the name be changed to the more accurate National Ales Festival in Winter? That would really trip off the tongue.
Also, I haven't fathomed out how the beers are chosen. There are a number of mediocre beers from mediocre breweries and some very good breweries are not invited - in my opinion, and that's the one I respect. Grouse over, the new venue The Sheridan Suite is much better than the impersonal 70's office block that was the venue for a number of years. I'm sure that I'll enjoy it and I'll be making a beeline for XX from the Fuller's new Past Masters range hoping there is some left.