Friday, 13 October 2006

The Malt Shovel, Horsham 12th October 2006

Popped down to Horsham last night to have a beer and hear a few tunes at the Malt Shovel.

There was a sign up in the pub saying “The Malt Shovel – home of traditional fine ales and Horsham’s beer festival”. The canny readers of this blog will notice a pattern emerging here. I’ve been down to Horsham three times now in the last two weeks and each time, guess what? A beer festival. Not that I’m complaining.

This particular beer festival is based on the premise that the pub will be selling a hundred different real ales over a five week period. Each beer they put on is given a number. Each drinker is given a card and when you buy a beer, that number is crossed off your card. Trying 40 beers gets you a commemorative polo shirt or pint glass while 80 gets you a fleece.

I was lucky, or unlucky, depending on how you see it, to discover this at the end of the first week.

How excited was I when I got to the bar and the first pump clip I saw was for Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby (6.0%)? My weakness got the better of me and I ordered a pint. Although it was good, no, very good, I think it tasted slightly better at the Horsham Beer Festival (30th Sep – 1st Oct; see a few entries back).

I was given my card and had my beer crossed off. I was disappointed not to get a list of the hundred beers along with my card, but I did find a copy of this on the wall. Apart from a few typos (e.g. “Green King”) it seemed quite complete with a good representation of local offerings.

During the evening I also tried:
Highgate Special (3.8%): tasty, crisp and hoppy, a lovely beer that even tasted excellent straight after the 6.0% mild
Black Sheep Bitter (3.8%): a pleasant standard kind of bitter, nothing too exciting
Everard’s Tiger (4.2%): interesting taste, couldn’t quite describe it by this stage in the evening

I had planned to try the Harvey’s Sussex bitter and possibly the Hydes beer that was on, but having waited at the bar for several minutes after ‘last orders’ was called, I wasn’t served before ‘time’. I was not impressed! Until this point all the staff had been very friendly, pleasant and efficient.

The music, again following the theme of this blog, was provided by the musicians of the Broadwoods (actually, I’ve no idea how they describe themselves, they’ve probably got a much snappier name than that) and it was excellent. The traditional modal tunes are in my blood through listening to this stuff since before I can remember, and I always love it, paticularly the tune they played called “Sprigs of May”.

I was reminded that I wasn’t in London when a fire engine went by with siren on, and everyone put down their drinks and looked out the window! Later a police car stopped outside with lights flashing. This time even the music stopped as necks were craned to try and see what was happening. Fantastic!

So only 76 beers to go to get that fleece. With four more weeks of the festival to run and a possible average of five beers per visit, I make that 25 visits. As I live about 50 miles away, I can’t see it happening – but I’ve kept the card safe, just in case.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:37 pm

    Hi Ruth, hope you enjoyed tonights (Friday Oct 20th) visit to the Malt Shovel Beer Fest, and that you got home safely.

    I really enjoyed talking to you, and hope we can meet up again soon, - remember there are 3 (maybe) weeks left.

    Drop me a line to