I enjoyed Braustelle’s Schwartz Bier and Amarillo Hop so much that I went back for another helping, but I didn’t enjoy the same brewery’s Cedarwood Alt (what next maturation in sandlewood?). I also enjoyed Coniston’s No 9 Barley Wine, this being the first time in years that I had made an effort to try the champion beer (though I was underwhelmed by the cherry mild that won an award — good idea but a bit flaccid in my opinion). Another British beer that I enjoyed was Greene King’s 5X, a sherryish, woody, spirituous experience that made me ask the question — why don’t we see this more regularly? It was one of the beers of the festival for me. And there was one other British beer that I enjoyed, Redemption’s Urban Dusk, a bright citrusy bitter then kept me company during a meeting over a possible next book. I also enjoyed Lowell Beer Work’s Sour Red, Left Hand’s Black Jack Porter, Klein Duimpje’s Xtreme Baltic Chocolate Coffee Mocha Porter and a beer that I always like to start the festival with, Lowenbrau’s Kellerbier, a fresh and frisky colt of a beer that knows how good the simple life can be sometimes. I suspect I tried several other beers but for the life of me cannot remember what they were. On the other hand, I was disappointed by the food choices I made: the wild boar and mushroom pie went half-eaten, saved for the dogs when I got home, while the bratwurst wasn’t bad though the roll it slipped into felt as stale as an aged vat of porter. And that was what I did at the Great Beer Festival.