13th Maldon Beer Festival, and a visit to The Carpenters Arms

We popped down the B1022 to Maldon late this morning, starting out in heavy rain, but with blue skies forecast once this weather front had passed over to the East.

True enough, by the time we arrived at the Plume School for the 13th Maldon Beer and Cider Festival, the clouds had scudded away and there were bright blue skies with only a few clouds.

It was the first Maldon beer festival we’ve been to, and the first that I can recall being in a school. The first couple of Colchester Beer festivals back in the 1980s were at the Colchester Institute, and my first even beer festival in either 1985 or 1986 was at the Chelmsford Institute (or whatever it was called) helpfully just over the way from County Hall A-Block where I was working at the time.

capitalaleThe beer festival was in the school hall, which evidently doubles as the sports hall, as the large room boasted a floor to ceiling climbing wall, and also a kitchen and serving area. More importantly though, for this week the hall also sports racked kegs of ale, and the theme for this year being ‘Capital Ale’, with the majority of the beers coming from microbreweries of That London.

16 of the 50 beers racked had evidently been finished in the preceding days, as a lot of the 11 dark ales I had earmarked on the beer list before setting out weren’t on when we arrived. However the ‘Lambeth Walk Porter’ from the By The Horns brewery in Wandsworth, the nut brown ‘Nightwatchman from the East London brewery in Leyton, and the ‘Market Porter’ from the Portobello brewery in Ladbroke Grove were all on, and all slipped down nicely. It it had been an evening I’d have gone for the 7.1% porter (can’t recall who it was from), but decided to give that a miss as the afternoon lay ahead.

Under the blue skies we walked to the High Street, partook (partaked?) of some lunch, visited the Maldon Museum, walked through Promenade Park, and then found ourselves at The Carpenters Arms, winner of the Maldon and Dengie CAMRA PoTY 2015. Located on the road behind The Blue Boar (or is the Blue Boar located on the road in front of The Carpenters Arms), the pub is an unassuming one, comprising of a public bar (the original pub from the look of it) and a lounge side by side. There’s a long bar, low beams, and a nice fire in the lounge. Stripped floorboards and some tasteful decor make it a nice place to sit in.

Beerwise there were a half dozen on tap, and the Wibblers’ Crafty Stoat all the way from Mayland was my pick, and that was in its usual good form. Definitely a pub to visit again.