Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Occombe Farm Beer Festival 2010

This post is a couple of days overdue partly due to a recovery period and partly due to a delay in sorting out some photos, so i hereby apologise if anyone has been waiting to read it.

Well i suppose i ought to start at the begining, we arrived at Occombe Farm on the outskirts of Paignton to find the festival already in full flow (we arrived about 5.45 due to a delay in the free bus leaving Torquay, lucky for us as about 10 mins later one of the security staff told us that they had stopped letting anyone in unless they had prebooked tickets.) so we duly paid our entry fee, got our wristbands and free glass, taste notes and drink vouchers (these had to be bought seperatly at 4 for £5.00 or 8 for £10,00) and proceeded to the bar.

With so many ales to choose from it was hard to decide which one to start with so we just plunged into the crowd and selected one from whatever was infront of us i started with a South Hams Brewery offering of Devon Pride and handed over two vouchers (1 voucher = 1/2 pint, however we soon learned that if we got it half pint at a time we would get nearly 2/3-3/4 pint, this didn't work every time but it did most), i would love to add a list of all the ales we tasted but as it was my birthday the number of ales consumed and my memory is a little blurry.

Entertainment on the Friday was provided by Duke Johnson and the scorhers, a five piece rock band playing classics from the 60's right up to the modern day. The evening got better as it went including runing into some old friends (thats old as in the length of time i've known them not thier ages, lol). Sadly all too quickly 11 o'clock came and the first day was over so we proceeded to get the free bus back to Torquay, unfortunately we just missed one and had to wait nearl 45 mins for it to come back, this didn't matter as we were in a good mood due to the amount of ale consumed, the journey back to Torquay was a slow but joyous one with everyone laughing and a few even singing and waving to people we passed, it was slightly spoiled however by a few idiots who decided it would be fun to rip up a couple of the seats and throw them over the side of the top deck (it was an open top bus) this resulted in the bus being canceled for the saturday.
DAY 2.
Saturday the festival was due to start at 11.00 but i had decided that there wasn't much point rushing (nothing to do with the slightly foggy head, honest) so waking up about 11.30 i looked out the window and saw that it was raining, great, so i packed up a bag with some extra bits and ventured to meet my mate Steve in town and proceeded to the festival, getting there about 1.30, to find a slow starting second day (possibly due to the amount consumed the night before, Cahoot the band for the early part of the afternoon were in full swing and doing pretty good, these guys can oftenly been found playing at the Hole in the Wall in Torquay.
They were followed by Three Bags Full, by which time we had followed everyone else throw to the field at the back,where we spent most of the afternoon chatting with a nice couple from Cheshire (i think), the overall atmosphere was great with kids playing ball and adults milling and chilling out, the music drifting from the cow shed where the band were playing and the warm sunshine made it a very relaxing afternoon and at one point i could of quite happily stretched out and gone sleep, instead i went back to the bar and refilled my glass.

As the day wore on and afternoon became evening one by one the barrels started to run out, however the crowd became bigger and by 7.00 they had stopped admitting anyone that didn't already have a ticket. Still the rain that had threatened in the morning held off and the burger stand and hog roast appeared to be doing a roaring trade. As was the farm shop and pancake stand (my only complaint at this point which also applied to fri night was that the toilet facilities seemed inadiquate  1 ladies "block" 1 gents, with 3 urinals and about a dozen porta-loos consequently ques were long and the bushes were getting a good watering).
The evenings entertainment was a 10 piece soul band called SOULFUNCTION who were absolutely amazing and soon got the crowd jumping with songs from the Comittments, Blues Brothers and many more. Gradually the pace of barrels running out increased and by 10 oclock all cider had gone and they were down to about a dozen ales, so i joined the queue to get my last one for the day and use up the tokens i had left by getting a half litre to take home (well it was supposed to be 1/2 of a 4 pint milk container but was closer to 3/4), my final choice was Bays Breaker and once purchased i returned to the balcony above the shop with Steve to enjoy the final set of the entertainment before catching a taxi back home and collapsing into bed.
Overall it was a great festival with fantastic entertainment, good food but most importantly an abundance of great tasting west country ales, spoiled only by the idiots who caused damage to the bus on Friday night and the misinformation given to some friends of mine when they turned up on saturday, after being there on the friday, with glass and fridays wrist band in hand to be told they had to pay £4.50 to get in when it should've only been £2.50 each, consequently they decided on principle not to come in, Alan and co. you were missed mate. Roll on next years festival.
Click here to view more photos from the festival

And here's a list (as best i can remember) of ales i tried :-

Bays Brewery - Topsail, Beery Head (both new ales), Breaker
Branscombe Vale Brewery - A Pint of Two Halves
Clearwater Brewery - Proper Ansome, Devon Darter
Coastal Brewery - Relentless Sea
Cotleigh Brewery - Tawney Owl
Countrylife Brewery - Black Boar
Exe Valley Brewery - Beerwolf
Gidleys Brewery - Spinney
Hunters Brewery - Denbury Dreamer, Pheasant Plucker
Jolly Boat Brewery - Mainbrace, Heart of Oak
Red Rock Brewery - Lighthouse
South Hams Brewery - Devon Pride
St. Austell Brewery - Dartmoor Best Bitter
Teignworthy Brewery - Neap Tide
Yeovil Ales Brewery - British Summer Time

At somtime in the near future i will add these to my taste notes page.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Well peeps the big day has arrived, yep today is the first day of the Occombe Farm Beer Festival, starting at 5.00 pm, i'm sitting with taste buds tugging at their leash in eager anticipation. Not quite sure about the condition i'll be in by the end of the day (it's also my birthday so i don't think i'll be walking quite as straight as when i arrive) so any posting that i'll do wont be until sunday.
For anyone going I'll see ya there.