Following an excellent Friday night at The Sportsman and Magic Rock Brewing, the next day (Saturday 9th June) we headed back to Magic Rock for Seshfest 2018 – a beer festival dedicated to session brews 4.5% and under.
We arrived bang on 12.00pm for the start of the festival and were given a special Seshfest pint glass, a beer list and four beer tokens at the registration desk. The festival worked on a token-based system and I felt like this actually added to the experience. My boyfriend and I bought an extra £20’s worth of tokens, as we were planning to sample as many different beers as we could. Each token was worth £1.50 and you could choose when ordering your beer whether you wanted a half for one token or a pint for two tokens.
Before starting on the beers we had a coffee from Dark Woods Coffee, who were serving at the festival until 3.00pm. I think this was probably a sensible way to begin and the coffee was excellent. It’s the same coffee that Magic Rock uses in their Common Grounds Triple Coffee Porter, so we already knew it would be good.
Sufficiently caffeinated, we moved on to our first beer of the day. We were both excited to get our first beers from Gigantic Brewing, a brewery based in Portland, Oregon. We visited Portland last summer and had the most amazing time visiting fantastic breweries, so we were keen to relive that experience with some beers from Gigantic. I opted for the Oni Kawaii Kettle Sour, which the friendly brewer serving me said is made using Marionberries which can be found in Oregon. Bright pink in colour and wonderfully sour and flavourful, this beer was a great way to start and hard to beat.
We decided to sample beers from the breweries we knew least about or would find harder to try in future. There were some really unusual but interesting styles available at Seshfest. My boyfriend had a Green Coffee Lager with Ginger and Citrus called the Anaconda Verde from Against the Grain Brewery (Louisville, Kentucky), which was a lot more tasty and well balanced than I had anticipated. One beer that stood out for me was the Proto 5 from Swedish brewery Brewski – a Milkshake Berliner Weisse with Mango which was so juicy it felt like you were drinking pure mango, but with the sharpness of a great sour.
I had so many great beers at Seshfest that it wouldn’t be possible to go into great detail about all of them, but there are just a few more I’d like to highlight and then I’ll post the rest at the bottom of this blog with a short, one line description. I hadn’t heard of Deya Brewing Company from Cheltenham before Seshfest, so I was keen to try them out. The Chulahoma Rye Table Beer from Deya was one of the best I had during the festival. Dry hopped with Amarillio, Chinook and Mosaic, this citrusy beer with tropical notes was so delicious. If I hadn’t been set on trying as many different beers as possible, I would have definitely gone back for a pint.
I also had a wonderful Sour Red Ale from Bristol brewery, Left Handed Giant. This collaboration with Unity Brewery Company is really unique. I’d never had a sour red ale before and as a huge fan of sours and red ales I was really intrigued. This light, fruity sour is also very malty and I don’t know quite how they’ve done it. At 3.5% it’s extremely sessionable but also so much more flavoursome than what I used to expect of such low ABV beers (although so many beers I’ve tried recently are altering my opinions on this). I would highly recommend.
Still Life, a collaboration between Beavertown and Mikkeller Brewing San Diego also deserves an honourable mention. This Dry Hopped Sour, fermented with wine yeast was so light and refreshing and not that easy to come by, so I felt lucky to be able to try it at Seshfest.
Seshfest was a great beer festival which was small enough to maintain a friendly and relaxed vibe, while being big enough to create a buzzing atmosphere. Despite the small amount of space at Magic Rock Brewing in Huddersfield, it never felt too crowded or overbearing. There was an abundance of fantastic beers available from the world’s best breweries and it was well organised, with beers only running out towards the evening, with plenty still available. It was also amazing value for money. Our £13 ticket provided us with a pint glass and enough tokens for four half pints and then we only spent around an extra £20 on tokens between us – a lot less than you would spend at most beer festivals.
Seshfest 2018 was an amazing experience and all I have left to say is bring on next year!
Full list of the beers we had at Seshfest 2018
- Gigantic Brewing, Oni Kawaii, 4.1%, Keg – Kettle Sour beer made with black rice and marionberries
- Gigantic Brewing, Kolshtastic, 4.5%, Keg – German style pilsner with noble hops and kolsh yeast
- Slim Pickens and Marble Beers, Agua De Jamaica, 3.5%, Keg- Hibiscus Berliner Weisse with ginger and lime
- Roosters and Ska Brewing, Anything Gose, 4.2%, Keg – Rhubarb Gose with sea salt
- Beavertown and Mikkeller, Still Life, 3%, Keg – Dry hopped sour fermented with white wine yeast
- Against the Grain, Anaconda Verde, 4.5%, Keg – Green coffee lager with ginger and citrus
- Brewski, Proto 5, 3.5%, Keg – Milkshake berliner weisse with mango
- Buxton Brewery, Myrcia, 4%, Keg – Oatmeal Hopburst Session IPA brewed with 15% oats and 10% wheat for a really full body and creamy mouthfeel
- Deya, Chulahoma, 4%, Keg – Rye table beer
- CR/AK, Mundaka, 4.5%, Keg – Fragrant and easy drinking session IPA
- Fyne Ales, Sour Friends: Passionfruit, 4.5%, Keg – Super-fruity kettle sour with tropical passion fruit and a citrus finish
- Brouweriji Kees, Pinapple Coriander Smoothy, 4.4%, Keg – A beer smoothy, brewed with Pineapple, Coriander and Szuchuan pepper
- Odell Brewing Company, Duck Tickler, 4.4%, Keg – Easy drinking Belgian Golden Ale
- North Brewing Company, Pinata, 4.4%, Keg – A softly tropical pale ale with stone fruit aromas of guava and mango and a strong hoppy finish
- Thornbridge, Green Mountain, 4.3%, Keg – Juicy New England session pale
- Verdant, Quiet Charge, 4%, Keg – American style pale ale with citra and amarillo hops
- Roosters, Jubilee, 4%, Keg – Refreshing cucumber ale
- Ossett Brewery, Inception, 4%, Cask – A heavy hopped American IPA
- Wild Beer Company, Sleeping Lemons, 4.6% (breaking the rules slightly!), Keg – A salty lemon gose
- Basqueland Brewing, Fruit Boot JR, 4.3%, Keg – Milkshake IPA with passion fruit and mango
- Kirkstall Brewery, Three Swords, 4.5%, Cask – Thirst quenching English pale ale
- Left Handed Giant, Distinct Phases, 3.5%, Keg – Sour red ale
- North Riding Brewery, Mosaic Pale, 4.3%, Cask – American Mosaic pale ale with blueberry and citrus flavours
- Northern Monk, Patrons Project 5.01// Striding Edge, 3%, Keg – A light IPA with big flavours