ESP’s Mikey Clarke gets his beer goggles on and joins the annual Beer Festival judging panel!

This summer has actually felt like, well, a summer! Is there a better place to go in the sunshine than the Peterborough Beer Festival? I don’t think so. So when CAMRA asked me to be a beer judge at the popular event, I of course jumped at the chance.


Every year the Peterborough Branch of Camra (Campaign for Real Ale) invite a variety of drinkers to taste the best of the best, and crown one beer as the overall champion.


Does that make me a bad judge though? I don’t think so. I may not be able to describe a good beer, but I can certainly taste one. Although my descriptions were not as ‘professional’ as the other judges around me, we all had very similar scores.

The highlight of being a judge was getting to know the people around me. Although the drinkers at my table came from very different backgrounds, with every mouthful of alcohol we became more relaxed with each other, laughed more, shared more stories, and even sang a little. This for me is the best thing about being at the Beer Festival. After a few drinks people start to lose their inhibitions and before long, laughter and cheers can be heard within the tents. I highly recommend you get your friends together and go.

And whilst you’re there, below I give you the beers to look out for during your visit to the Beer Festival. As voted by myself AND the more experienced judges…

In third place taking Bronze it’s –  American Pale Ale from the Hopshackle Brwery

In second place taking Silver it’s  – Dark Ruby Mild from Sarah Hughes

And your 2013 Champion Ale is……… Mud Brawler Vanilla from brewers Boggart Hole Clough

Don’t agree with the results? Feel free to comment below on your favourite beers to look out for at Peterborough’s popular annual event which continues until Saturday August 24.

Mikey Clarke

Photos: Chris Brudenell


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