It’s always nice to go back to Chepstow. It’s where a bunch of my old friends and I grew up. Most of us have dispersed elsewhere in the UK now but we do meet up in Chepstow from time-to-time.

We met up in The Three Tuns, which is odd because it wasn’t a pub we favoured back in the day. One of my friends in particular used to reply with an expletive-laden response if we ever suggested going there. But times change and we had a couple of drinks in there and then went to then went to the Chepstow Real Ale and Cider Festival.

It was in the Drill Hall and I think I was last there 40 years ago with a gun. I was in the Air Cadets for about a month and one of the activities we did was shooting. I walked around the building with a friend who was also in the Air Cadets and the geography didn’t seem right, so maybe the shooting took place elsewhere.

Chepstow Real Ale and Cider Festival bar area.
Credit: Chepstow Real Ale and Cider Festival

Anyway, we were there to drink beer, which is a bind but we undertook it in the name of research. There were about 40 beers on tap at the festival, some of which were delightful and some of which weren’t so good. It’s best to drink in half pints at these things in order to try a reasonable selection of ales before your head falls off.

A couple of beers of note I enjoyed were Salopian Darwin’s Origin and Great Heck Black Jesus. I seem to remember the Zulu Alpha Session IPA was pretty good too, although it all gets a bit blurry after that. I wanted to log the beers I drank unto my Untappd app but it had logged me out at some point and I just couldn’t remember my login details. I may have some of those beers wrong, relying as I am on my poor excuse for a memory a few days later.

Chepstow Real Ale and Cider Festival - list of beers.
Credit: Chepstow Beer and Cider Festival

For food we had someone deliver ten pizzas to us at the beer festival and then they had a live band on stage as entertainment. I think they were called the Will Barnes Trio and they were pretty good, playing a selection of covers, many of which suited my own musical preferences.

The beer was, however, at room temperature. This will probably put me on some sort of kill list for the bearded real ale jihadis but I like my beer chilled these days so, yearning for a cold pint, we made our way to The Bell Hanger (I always call it The Coat Hanger). It’s a Wetherspoons pub and I’m not a huge fan of such places but we did get three pints of Brewdog Punk IPA for under a tenner and that’s good value. And it was chilled and appropriately thirst-quenching.

I stayed in The Beaufort Hotel. The room was the size of a closet, just about fitting a single bed in it, but it was fine. At that point I was only interested in the bed anyway. I slept right through until 10AM, which is pretty good for an insomniac of my prowess, and I felt quite refreshed, considering.

It was a good night out and I’d certainly be interested in attending next year’s festival if they have one.