22 September 2016

End of the Road festival 2016 ciders

I have been visiting the End of the Road festival at Larmer Tree Gardens in Dorset every year since 2007. The quality and variety of beer and cider on offer has been improving over the years.
Most of the bars at the festival are run by The Really Good Bar Co.. In 2016, most of the festival bars, like the Black Crow, near the Woods stage served draught Symonds cider and local ciders.
Every year, the Somerset Cider bus brings Burrow Hill cider and is parked in the Tipi area near the campfire and the Tipi stage.
This is the best place to find hot spiced cider before sitting by the campfire or enjoying live music from the Tipi stage or some dance records in the smaller marquee tent next to the cider bus.
The hot spiced cider is served in doubled cardboard cups for extra insulation and strength.
Big Thief - Tipe stage
In 2016, the late night music to go with this warming cider was provided by Big Thief from Brooklyn featuring Adrianne Lenker (Friday) and The Big Moon from London (Saturday).
2015 - Bob Chaplin - Copse House Cider
Copse House Cider from Sandley, Dorset was available at the festival in 2015 and I met Bob Chaplin the cidermaker at a tasting event in the Bear Tavern then.
In 2016, boxes of Copse House Landshire medium cider were available at several of the festival bars including the bar at the back of the Tipi stage tent.
Seratones - Tipi stage
I was lucky to enjoy Copse House Landshire cider with the last Tipi Stage Surprise Show acts of the night from Weaves from Toronto (Friday) and Seratones from Shreveport (Saturday).

For more details of music at End of the Road festival 2016 - see my Tumblr blog eotr2016
For details of beer at the featival - see blog post End of the Road festival 2016 beer bars

Chris of Really Good Bar Co writes:
I think we have one of the best cider selections at a music festival, all tip top and possibly the best 3 cider makers in the country, but thats just me and I would say that. Bob at Copse House and the Temperleys at Burrow Hill are cider legends and Bill at Cranborne Chase is the young kid on the block making waves and winning lots of awards with his excellent cider.
Bill (Cranborne Chase Cider) - End of the Road festival 2014 (photo from @reallygoodbars Facebook page)
You should mention Bill at Cranborne Chase Cider, he makes it a few miles down the road from the festival. It is great oak conditioned real cider, very tasty. Check his facebook page for details as he won some awards in Somerset this summer.

16 September 2016

End of the Road festival 2016 beer bars

Model of the End of the Road festival site - not to scale!
The first End of the Road festival at Larmer Tree Gardens in Dorset was in 20016. I have been to the festival every year since 2007.
List of beers outside the Bear Tavern
The quality and variety of beer and cider on offer has been improving over the years.
There have been previous experiments with returnable plastic glasses for a refund and heavy duty souvenir plastic glasses but recently flimsy plastic disposable glasses have become the norm. See Chris Corry's explanation of why these are best for outdoor festivals at the end of this post.
Simon outside the Black Crow - the bar for the Woods stage
The Really Good Bar Co runs most of the festival bars including the Black Crow near the Woods stage and the real ale festival bar at the Bear Tavern, situated near the Big Top stage and the festival merchandise store.
On Saturday 3 September there was a brewing demonstration by the Brew Shack, Wimborne, at the side of the Bear Tavern tent.
Adam Bascombe with 'Ullage'
 It was a pleasure to meet Adam Bascombe, the brewer of 'Naturally hazy unfined ale made in small batches'. Adam advised that the brewery will be increasing capacity soon from 1.5 BBL to 4.5 BBL. A true small batch brew was in progress using a pilot plant with an electric element heating the brew kettle.
Brewing ingredients, including several varieties of malt and hops, were on display. Adam and his colleague answered questions about brewing from interested festival goers.
The Brew Shack - 9 Grain Porter
This was a good opportunity to order half pints of their beer from the casks on stillage behind the bar. 9 Grain Porter (5% ABV) was a good start to the day with coffee and chocolate notes. Later I would also enjoy 5 a day IPA (5.5% ABV).
Anderson East - Woods stage
After watching an excellent set from Anderson East on the main Woods stage, it was time to return to the Bear Tavern for shelter as it started to rain more heavily. From a place at the far end of the bar it was possible to observe the bar staff at work.
A different Adam, who I had chatted with on a visit to Wakefield Beer Exchange in March, was busy tapping and spiling some casks on the scaffolding stillage behind the bar. It was fortunate that he was wearing glasses as beer spurted out at his face with a couple of the livelier casks. All the time, the bar staff were serving customers in a friendly and helpful way.
Watching them stoop or crouch to pour beer from the lowest casks made me wonder if their job could be eased by having these casks raised higher in future. Once the casks had been tapped, Chris Corry appeared to observe and taste the newly tapped beers to see if they were ready for serving.
This year I didn't get a chance to chat with Chris but hopefully he will have found one of the copies of West Berkshire CAMRA's Ullage magazine which I left with Adam.
In 2015, some keg Beavertown beers were also available at the Bear Tavern. In 2016, a new dedicated Beavertown bar, near the Singing Theatre and Garden Stage catered for craft beer enthusiasts.
Whitney - Garden stage
Visiting the bar on Friday, only Neck Oil was available on draught and I purchased a can of Gamma Ray (£4.50) to enjoy while watching Whitney on the Garden stage.
On Sunday, more draught beers were available including Lupuloid IPA (6.7% ABV) which had been launched officially at the festival on Saturday.
Thee Oh Sees - Garden stage
I ordered a half pint (£3) and drank this while watching the start of the set from Thee Oh Sees on the Garden stage. Until now Gamma Ray has been my favourite beer from Beavertown but Lupuloid IPA tasted even better!

For more details of music at End of the Road festival 2016 - see my Tumblr blog eotr2016
For details of cider at the featival - see blog post End of the Road festival 2016 ciders

Chris from Really Good Bar Co advises:
EOTR is the only music festival I've been to this year where they encourage us to go and find good quality, interesting, local produce for the bars. Hence why all the ale is local as well.

We went with the current plastic glasses as previous versions caused us problems. The current ones work directly with the mechanical recycling kit at the depo and so gets packaged up and reused. The glasses also split once, when trodden on, so they flatten. This is very important as it stops the cups breaking into multiple bits. When they do this and it is wet the small bits disappear in to the mud and then reappear when livestock is on the land resulting in lots of problems and big vet bills. So although they are a bit flimsy for us beer drinkers they actual are the best all round solution for outdoor events.

We tried washing hard plastic ones, but these caused lots of grey water issues and a potential problem for bar service when the washing machines broke down onsite. The also split into multiple shards of hard plastic when trodden on so very dangerous all round.

Paper cups - you can't see if its a full pint or settled and finally corn starch cups although in theory are great as they reduce to compost, have a tendency to contaminate batches of plastic cups destined to be reused & recycled.