Beer fest was more than I could hop for

Doncaster Free Press reporter Kate Mason.  Picture: Liz Mockler D1594LM
Doncaster Free Press reporter Kate Mason. Picture: Liz Mockler D1594LM

Trading in my glass of wine for a tankard of real ale has become something of a tradition when the annual Doncaster Beer Festival comes to town.

After being enlisted two years ago to write a feature about the festival in which I had the pleasure of sitting on the tasting panel I have looked forward to returning each year.

Residents enjoying the 23rd Doncaster Beer Festival.

Residents enjoying the 23rd Doncaster Beer Festival.

During my stint on the tasting panel I enjoyed a whole host of beers (and turned my nose up at others) picking up some tasting tricks up along the way.

So I was pleased to put my tasting skills to the test for another year and went along to the 23rd Doncaster Beer Festival at the college.

After initially being sceptical thinking real ale was more suited to beer-bellied old men with beards I am always pleasantly surprised to see a whole host of unlikely people flocking to the festival.

And this year was no exception as hundreds piled in.

The college was once again transformed with rows of different beers from pale ales to stouts and flavoured foreign beers to ciders.

It’s the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory of the beer world with something for everyone.

And although I had picked up some tasting tips on my first visit I still considered myself a novice when it comes to real ale.

I approach my real ale drinking in a very similar way to betting on the horses - I side step the information about hops, percentage and brewery and go for a name I like.

So from Dizzy Blonde to Coco Loco I had a real mixture as I made my way down the line of beers.

My favourite thing about the festival is, being relatively new to the real ale world, that some experts serving the beer took me under their wing letting me try a little bit of the different beers before making my choice.

In fact by the time I selected my first beer I was already feeling suitably merry after swigging several different beers.

The funniest thing about the beer festival is spotting the people who have been there all afternoon with a glazed expression.

But everyone is always in good spirits and you always end up bumping into old friends you haven’t seen for ages.

Spending a large portion of my working week writing about crime and scandal in Doncaster it’s events like this that really restore your faith in Doncaster.

Genuinely nice down to earth people all supporting the local tradition and embracing the best of what the borough has to offer.

After consuming such a concoction of beers I went to bed genuinely fearing for the hangover the next day but much to my delight I woke up feeling fresh as a daisy - real ale is obviously the way forward.