‘Ale’ be going back for beer festival

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I’M very particular about what I drink and anything in a pint glass is usually a no-no.

However, this weekend I decided to try something new and headed for the Copt Hill in Houghton. I was lured there by the third annual cask ale festival which boasted more than 35 different real ales.

Luckily, it was early afternoon so it was quite quiet and Copt Hill ale man Ben Davis was able to take some time to talk me through the different tipples.

The pub started the event last Thursday and it has been hugely popular over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, offering entertainment and BBQs as part of the package.

As one half of the Copt Hill’s “Bill and Ben the real ale men” duo, Ben knows his stuff and as he talked me through the selection, I got a lot braver.

I initially stuck to the cider. I opted for a half of Weston’s Traditional Scrumpy, but Ben soon had me on the good stuff and I’ve got to say I loved it.

From Old Hooky to Scarlet Macaw, they had something for everyone and my favourite had to be Thornbridge Jaipur, which was 5.9 per cent.

According to the programme “its immediate impression is soft and smooth yet builds to a crescendo of massive holiness and a bitter finish”, but for me it was a bonus that it was tasty and it didn’t make me want to spit it out.

I also loved that if you drank five pints you got a free hot dog – that’s promoting drink awareness.

I had dragged my fiance along with me (not that he took much dragging) and if I had let him he would have started at one end and drank a pint of everything.

Ben told me he wouldn’t be the first to attempt it and there had been a number of unsteady people making their way home.

The Copt Hill may be a destination pub, but it is constantly coming up with new ways to entice customers into its bar. I can’t wait for the next one.