Drinking beer in football stadiums doesn’t happen that much these days with rules abut taking it into the stands but CAMRA proved that they can be good venues for a beer festival. My trips to Southampton usually involve me being dragged to the football by my partner (who is a Saints fanatic) so it makes a change to go to St. Mary’s for something I would enjoy too! The festival was held in the stadium’s concourse with ample seating and space to move about – so no overcrowding! The thick brick walls and open stairs up to the main ground helped keep the room temperature cool and the beers in good condition. I had already marked a few beers I wanted to try on the train journey over so I was eager to get started, here are a few of my festival highlights.
Wild Weather’s Sublime 3.8% sounded like a good place to start with its lower ABV. This blonde ale had a very clean and light mouthfeel balanced out with a hint of lime. This didn’t last me long but was a good way to ease myself into the festival. The next beer needed to be something a little bolder…
‘When in Rome’ as they say so my next beer needed to be more local. I was eager to try Dancing Man and Eight Arch’s collaborative beer – The Lime and The Coconut. This was very tropical and had a strong coconut flavour – which I don’t normally go for considering I don’t enjoy coconut! I wouldn’t say that this beer is particularly sour but there was more of a lime hit than my first beer. If it wasn’t for the fact I was at a festival I would have continued drinking this all afternoon!
My last highlight of the festival was Jakehead IPA from Wylam. After having a few ales already I was finding my palate was starting to feel numb. I needed something with a burst of flavour and the Jakehead was it. A hoppy IPA with some citrus and grapefruit notes – this beer was the perfect end to a great festival.
All in all a great turn out to a fantastic venue. The space was used effectively and the beers were well conditioned which is crucial for a good traditional ale. Definitely one I recommend and would be more than happy to go again in the future!