I’d never been to any organised drinks event, so when I was made aware of the 2017 Kingdom of Fife Real Ale, Cider and Perry Festival, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to attend my first. Hosted at Rothes Halls in Glenrothes, Fife, the festival is now in its 19th year, and judging by the crowds, it’s sure to continue into its 20th and beyond.
The festival is organised by Fife CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), who had impressively gathered 77 beers, ciders and perries from around the UK. We bought our tickets (which included a pint glass with festival logo) and drinks tokens, and had a browse through the helpful programme which lists details of the drinks available. This approach worked well, as it meant drinkers had already chosen their beverage before heading to the bar, meaning queues were minimal the whole time we were there.
The atmosphere was warm and friendly, with a live band playing in the evening, and we had a chat with a bearded gentleman from Fife CAMRA who was happy to talk about the event and what was on offer. The half-pint servings that each token entitled us to were generously poured, and my only complaint was that the drinks weren’t as chilled as I would have liked making it difficult to judge them fairly, although I appreciate it must be difficult keeping such a large number of kegs cold in a hall.
Some of the beers we tried included Craft Originale’s Guild IPA (6.2%). The microbrewery’s Beggar’s Mantle won the festival’s Champion Beer of Fife award, but unfortunately it sold out before we got the chance to try it. Another Fife beer, Beath Brewery’s ‘Look What You’ve Done’ pale ale (4%) was a favourite, fresh and fruity.
We tried a couple of ciders from Errol’s Cairn O’Mohr (We love their fruit wines!), their Vintage (5%) and King Jimmy (5%). We’re visiting their winery for a tour in June, so we’ll be sure to report back on that. Virtual Orchard’s ‘Hop In Cider’ is a medium/dry cider from Bucks, made from a blend of apples with citra hops, which was an interesting twist! Hunts sweet strawberry cider (4.0%) from Devon was nice, with the strawberry flavour not overpowering the apple like some fruit ciders do.
I haven’t tried much Perry, so I made sure to try a couple before we left. Hecks (6.5%) from Somerset was nice and fruity, and they’ve been making their cider and perry for 6 generations since 1840. Impressive work! Finally we tried GWatkins Farmhouse Perry (7.0%) from Hereford. Made from a blend of old fashioned pear varieties, this one packed a punch in flavour and alcohol level!
Having such a wide variety of drinks on show locally was an interesting experience, so we’ll hope to return next year, as well as look out for other similar events to attend. Cheers!