Hawkshead Revisited

I am breaking from the tyranny of chronology to share ten things learnt on a day trip to the excellent Hawkshead Brewery Beer Festival in Cumbria.

1. Trains to Staveley – where the brewery is located – do not always connect with mainline trains to Oxenholme, nine miles away. A wait of an hour or more can be required. 

2. There isn’t much to do in Oxenholme for an hour other than walk up the hill to the former Good Beer Guide listed Station Inn.

3. There are too many cask beers served at the Station. Of the four available two were tried – York Guzzler and Top Knot – and found to be in indifferent condition. 

3. The Festival Programme has good descriptions of the beers but it would be nice to know where the breweries come from. 

3. Northern Monk Brewery Neapolitan IPA tastes like more of an ice cream than a beer. 

4. North Riding Brewery Tiramisu Porter tastes more like a tasty pudding  than a beer. 

5. There are three cask bars and one with keg from breweries such as Affinity, Cloudwater, Magic Rock and Runaway. 

6. The food was much better than the average beer festival with not a bratwurst in sight. And Rabbit Ramen goes well with the consistently outstanding Salopian Brewery beers. 

7. Maverick musician John Otway used to drink ink at school to impress the girls with the colour of his pee.  His partner Wild Willy Barrett isn’t available to tour as much these days because he spends a lot of time making furniture.

8.  The sole cider provider is Thistly Cross- fine if you want a Whisky or Ginger flavoured cider but less so if you want a teeth varnish-stripping dry cider or a traditional perry. 

9. Volunteer staff are plentiful and knowledgeable. To attract them to a rural location they get paid. 

10.  Some people who work at British Aerospace still go out for a drink at lunchtime.  The huge Samlesbury site has its own bar and gardening hut. 

11. It is not uncommon for people from England to say how much they like Scotland as if we suspected the opposite. Some feel the need to apologise for the current political turmoil. People from Scotland do not hold them personally responsible. 

12. Hawkshead Brewery run two festivals a year. Visitors to the Lake District should make a diversion here- it’s one of the best around. 


6 thoughts on “Hawkshead Revisited

    1. It’s funny how that sentiment is often assumed to apply only one way. Irrational haters in both of course but fortunately most people don’t judge someone on where they come from or the colour of their skin. Nearly added one that would have said “people from
      Watford who say they like talking to strangers walk away when the subject turns to politics”. I don’t go to many festivals but would definitely go to this one again.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Re: Oxenholme. walked with my son to Kendall and back. Earned the two ticks there and felt much better for it !

    Oh,and agree on the Thistly Cross, I don’t mind Westons Pig/Rosie but the fruit falvoured stuff hard work. Some people love them, apparently.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Of course the inclusion of “alien” ingredients is a big bone of contention amongst the CAMRA ciderati, despite it being commonplace in cask beer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the definition of what constitutes real cider for CAMRA purposes has always been more relaxed than for cask beer and the new generation of flavoured ciders clouds it even further (and not in the scrumpy sense).


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