Thursday, 23 June 2016

A Dark Horse

The June Meeting gets under starters orders on Friday 24th June and we’re Cock-a-Hoop – or at least we’re planning on indulging in some ‘Cocker Hoop’, because it’s one of the beers featured in our first ever Real Ale Festival, staged as part of Real Ale Champions Race-day.

Apparently (which is a word I use a lot when I’ve just read something on Wikipedia), we are Cock-a-Hoop when we rest the spigot from a barrel (also known as the cock) on the hoop of a beer cask in preparation for a drinking session. Jennings Brewery is located on the River Cocker in the Lake District, hence the adaption to the ale’s name.

Some of the names of the other ales relate more specifically to the races. For example, ‘Hurdler’ was created by the Winster Valley Brewery for consumption at Cartmel; it’s a light ale with floral notes and is perfect for sipping with a picnic, especially in June - while the elder trees are still in full bloom. The brewery, which sponsors the third race on the programme and is based at The Brown Horse Inn at Winster, also produces a more mature ale – with added strength and body. Unsurprisingly they decided to call it ‘Chaser’ and used an image of Soul Magic (the joint record holder for the most steeplechase wins at Cartmel) for the label.

Completing the trio of ales from Winster is ‘Dark Horse’ – a dark ale which has notes of chocolate and caramelised sausages, making it the perfect accompaniment to lunch at the BBQ Meeting in July. Maybe they should have put Jimmy Moffatt’s Altruism on the label; he’s quite a dark coloured horse, although he’s no longer very mysterious – having won in course record time at Cartmel in May. Even so, he’s our selection this week.
Dark Horse

In a bid to restrict food-and-beverage-miles, we’re also delighted to welcome the brewers from Unsworth’s Yard – located in the village, barely 300 yards from the racecourse pedestrian entrance. Their four ales include Crusader Gold, Cartmel Peninsula, Land of Cartmel and Last Wolf – the latter named in honour of the last wolf in England, which was reputed to have been killed at Humphrey Head just ten minutes from the racecourse.

Among the other guest ales are: Thwaites’ Wainwright, Jennings Cumberland, Bank’s Bitter, Marston’s Pedigree and Wychwood’s Hobgoblin – which might have been named to scare all the children who are due to come and enjoy the second day of the meeting: Circus Sunday. There’ll be performers and entertainers in both enclosures – including the Acro-chaps, Miss Bubblelicious, the Hoola-girls and Andy Jester.

I can’t wait. Anyone for a Sneck Lifter?

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