The green and pleasant bit between Wetherby and Tadcaster on the map was a bit of a mystery for me, so I needed no further reason to pop to Clifford for their famous Beer Fest. Richard Coldwell has been plugging the event on his own excellent blog, with a line-up of beers from wooden casks, Cloudwater and KeyKeg from Brass Castle clinching the deal.

At Knottingley services I was chatting to some gentlefolk in the queue for Greggs.  One lady said she was heading for “Mistry“, which sounded like a suburb of Driffield.  Only when she gave the same answer when I asked how long it took did the penny drop. I hope the unnamed “Mystery Coach Trip” proved as exciting as Clifford, but I bet it was Harrogate.

The village was gorgeous, lots of stone building of different ages seemingly built around the Village Hall and playground.  Three solid looking pubs, including a classic looking Sam Smiths, would have had a visit if we weren’t suffering a bit.

Coincidental matching shirts

Fests aren’t really my things, but this was a classic, a bit like a mini-Manc with added beers from the wood. A lot of hard work goes into planning events like this, and the number of cheerful volunteers was startling, particularly considering it’s a one-day festival in a small village.

Beer wise, what stood out was the quality and temperature of the half dozen we tried throughout the afternoon.  Folk of all ages, and a few beer tourists, were putting back pints, which helps, but the initial set-up is key to the cool beer we were served.

All the beers were from breweries I’d heard of, bar the “interesting” Chocoate Mild from Sunbeam which was intriguing, but fully deserved its experimental tag.

Exemplary choice there

I’d have scored all the ales between NBSS 3.5 and 4 in a pub.  Given the restricted opening hours of some micros, can’t a one-day fest be considered for the Beer Guide !

Apart from raising funds for the Village Hall and Football Club, the festival promotes quality Yorkshire beers, including the Elland Pale from the wood which was my favourite. The wooden barrels certainly give a softer feel to the beers.

Meanwhile, Mrs RM has been converted to the evil key keg (Sunshine from Brass Castle was superb), and a Lancastrian intruder from Cloudwater also starred.

Proper pies, served with mint sauce

Even my octogenarian mystery tripper would have been impressed with the local pie and peas, like the beer served at bargain prices (by my standards anyway). The afternoon football on big screen TV was rightly confined to the specialist Prosecco and pop room.

Thanks to all for a great fest, with plenty of seating and unobtrusive live music to enjoy or avoid. And lots of smiles.

If you can’t get there tonight,  the 2017 fest will be held on Sat 24 June. I’ll be there.


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