This post on the Indyman beer con 2017, which took place almost two weeks ago, is so late as to be irrelevant but let this be confirmation if any were needed that this blog does not make me any money. (I’ll give you a moment to recover….OK). That means that sometimes it has to be relegated a few places underneath things which actually make me money, such as putting in spurious whiplash claims, taking my money boxes to the Coinstar, and selling my organs. (If anyone wants a Yamaha Electone 900 for a bargain price, inbox me).
I am currently at the Acceptance stage of going to IMBC, I have raged at the increased prices, howled at the reduction from 2/3 glasses to 1/3 glasses, and gnashed my teeth at the app which shows breweries as bringing ‘No Beers’, when actually they are bringing ‘Some Beers’. This year I shrugged, paid the money, and queued in the rain to pick up my 1/3 glass. Like a lemming. A drunk lemming.
This was the first year I have attended any Fringe events and I’m not sure if it was a good idea because I was buzzed by the time I even walked through the doors of Victoria Baths. Myself and my Beer Wife, Karen, called into Port Street Beer where a half will set you back about £4.50 and they are sometimes not even sure what they are selling because the blackboard is a nightmare scrawl of random words and numbers which would have given Bletchley Park pause. There was a Burning Sky takeover so I ordered their Burial Vault white stout which at 8.5% was an interesting choice for first beer of the day at 1pm.
We moved on to Common where another takeover was happening, this time Magic Rock who are one of my favourite breweries due to their bold flavour combinations, innovative core range and amusing cartoon characters. I went for a Salty Margarita, their tequila infused version of Salty Kiss, one of my favourite beers of all time. My notes from Untappd say “It tastes like Margaritas” which tells me I probably shouldn’t have gone out on the lash the night before a beer festival, or started drinking again at lunchtime, but hey ho. Untappd also tells me I had a Ringmaster after that, probably the lowest ABV of anything I had that day, the equivalent of trying to put up an umbrella whilst already underwater.
When we finally arrived at Victoria Baths the queue was not so bad as last year, and we were in in about 15 minutes. I demanded we go immediately to the Pineapple Room and Beavertown, as I was carrying a glass pineapple and wanted rid of it. (Those who saw my IMBC bingo card will note that Beavertown had requested everyone bring them a pineapple to get a special prize.) Beavertown had already tweeted several pictures of bin bags full of pineapples and begged that those who were yet to purchase the Ananus Comosus instead spent their money on something less likely to cause an anxiety attack in their staff so I was not confident of receiving any prizes. I placed my pineapple on the counter with trepidation expecting to be punched by someone who had seen too many pineapples that day, but instead was met with disbelief and joy that it was not in fact edible. For my trouble I received an array of freebies including a bottle of Barrel Aged Applelation bramley apple saison, which has gone in the ‘cellar’ (shelf in my pantry). Let’s see if it makes it to my birthday in November.
From Beavertown I had an Earl Phantom bergamot berliner weisse which was absolutely stunning, and a great accompaniment to watching several people hand over real pineapples to the bar and receive scant reward back. We wandered into the Wild Beer Co tent which resembled a Bible Belt revival meeting. At one point some cheese was brought out to the fevered chants of the assembled, and devoured within seconds. The people in that tent were more animal than man. There was a slight issue with getting to the bar due in part to a supermodel-attractive bartender who the assembled punters were engaging in lengthy conversation even after their drinks had been delivered. I looked in vain for someone more troll-like to serve me but they were all quite attractive and all the flirting was preventing me from getting my beer. Perhaps next year there should be a maximum attractiveness level set for bar staff so this problem doesn’t occur again. When I finally got hold of the Of The Sea I desired I wondered whether I’d been given the wrong beer due to Heidi Klum being distracted by hordes of drooling gynephiles. Having recently enjoyed a langoustine gose (Langosetine by Holy Crab and Marble) I was keen to try more seafood beers, but this tasted of hardly anything, certainly not seaweed or cockles. I retreated from the cheese and sex madness into the main hall.
Next up was the Rainbow Project beers, and after watching Karen sample most of them and look unimpressed, I opted for the Mojito by Hawkshead and Modern Times which was the green of the aforementioned rainbow and apparently the best. I love a mojito, and I love beer, and so I doubly loved this. It had the refreshing mintiness and familiar dryness of a mojito and I could have drunk many more of them but we moved on to find Brodie’s Brewery who I enjoy very much. Unfortunately, they hadn’t brought what I consider their best beers along, no Jamaican Milk Stout, no Citron Saison. Instead I had a go of the perennially fabulous Roadside Picnic celery sour, a collab from FourPure and Chapter Brewing, one of my local breweries. You can’t go wrong with this beer, even if you don’t like celery or sour beers. On the way to a tasting session we had booked I picked up a Cranachan Killer by Fierce Beer, a raspberry and oatmeal pale which was exquisitely refreshing and fruity. Usually a raspberry beer tastes nothing like raspberries unless it’s a lambic but this was excellent.
The tasting was with Swedish brewers Dugges and was a strange experience to be honest. It took place in a dark, damp cellar and there were seven beers to get through which made the whole thing seem like a pleasurable kidnapping. I’ll be honest, I can’t remember a single thing that was said by the head brewer as I was distracted by being constantly handed glasses of strong, dark beer while my eyes adjusted to the gloom. Emerging from the room afterwards still clutching two half full glasses, blinking like a mole and trying to work out where I was and what had just happened, I reflected that it was probably worth the two tokens it cost to get in but that I also needed to eat something. I won’t bore you with talking about food, I had a hot dog in the Wild Beer Co tent on a table covered with cheese crumbs.
Last beer of the night was at Siren, who seem to name their beers by heading into the prog rock section of a second hand record shop, writing down the oddest songs titles, and adding a food pun. I drank what I believe to be a new version of Pompelmocello which is a grapefruit IPA, but the Pompango was quite delicious, if not particularly mangoey. Why do people make mango beers? They never taste of mango. Mango is quite a subtle flavour really, it’s closer to a pear than a grapefruit and never manages to poke its flavoury head above the parapet of aroma.
That was Indyman 2017, probably my favourite one yet now that I have surrendered to the void. Who knows what madness awaits us next year, I’m already stocking up on pineapples.