Ahoy Shipmates! Warriorfest 2017

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

It's no an exaggeration to say that I haven't looked forward to a beer event as much as I was looking forward to Warriorfest. Announced last Autumn, this craft beer festival, hosted by Staggeringly Good Brewery and The Beer Musketeer, was staged in what has to be one of the most unique venues ever; HMS Warrior in the Historic Portsmouth Dockyard.

I was lucky enough to be working a night shift when the tickets were released at midnight back in November and managed to snap ten up before the event sold out that same day.

Thankfully after such a long wait and with anticipation building I can now confirm that, like Blackbeard the Pirate at his tyrannical best, Warriorfest blew all of my expectations clear out of the water.

HMS Warrior itself is an absolute marvel; the restoration has been brilliantly completed and stepping down into bowels of the ship was liking stepping down into history. The beer festival was spread over two of the lower decks and attendees were encouraged and expected to explore the ship thanks to thoughtful bar locations.

The entertainment was perfect with various bands performing (whilst decked out in suitably nautical attire) although my personal highlight was the sing along with The Shanty Buoys, who were going from table to table and encouraging audience participation. I've never felt more like a pirate!

Now all of this is great but lets be honest, you go to a beer festival for the beer... and this is where Warriorfest really delivered.

The line up was phenomenal with some of the UK's finest craft brewers alongside the cream of local beer production.

My personal highlights will include Staggeringly Good's Hop Rod IPA, Weird Beard's Black Perle Coffee Milk Stout, Southsea Brewing's Casemate IPA and the Arbor/Moor Beer collaboration Double Dark Alliance Coffee Imperial Stout. And I cannot ignore the secret Bar 5, not shown on the map, but which had a small supply of Cloudwater's DIPA London Ale and Weird Beard's Defacer Tripple IPA... although at 9% and 11.1% ABV respectively maybe I should have ignored them!

To say that I was a little bit tipsy come the end would be a massive understatement and apologies to anyone that was unfortunate to get stuck in a drunken conversation with me towards the end of the evening.

I cannot give Staggeringly Good and The Beer Musketeer enough praise for Warriorfest; to secure such a unique location and appropriate entertainment was impressive enough, but to then fill the event with such an impressive range of high quality contemporary craft beer was an amazing achievement.

I don't know if Warriorfest is going to become an annual event but if she were to dock in Portsmouth again in 2018 I'd sail to the world's end to secure myself a ticket; there's no way I'd want to miss it!

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