After finishing work last Friday it was a mad dash to get home, showered and back down to the harbour where our boat over to the glorious island of Herm was awaiting. Along with eight other girls from work we decided to give the boys a run for their money and head over to the Herm Island 2013 Real Ale and Cider Festival.
Showcasing real ales, craft lagers and ciders from around the Channel Islands and UK, the week-long festival was an extravaganza attracting hundreds of Guernsey locals over to its sister island Herm.
The view of Guernsey looking back across the water from Herm
We headed over with what seemed like most of the island, as the boat was jam-packed, and 20 minutes later were in Herm. I had never been to the festival before so I had no preconceptions about what to expect, but when we had to queue for 15 minutes to even get in I knew this was going to be something pretty special.
Entry to the festival is free, but you can pay £5 for a souvenir glass, which must be bought if you’re drinking beer or cider as they won’t give you a glass at the bar, and a programme, which features information about each of the ales and ciders on offer. For a further £10 you buy 20 tokens which can then be used to purchase your drinks at a cost of 4 tokens for each drink.
Some of the ciders on offer – the strongest quickly ran out (make of that what you will!)
I thought that all of the costs were ok so far, but I must say that the cost of food did seem somewhat pricey. It was £10 for a plate and you could then choose from three food options; paella (I don’t like fish), some sort of pork dish (I don’t like pork) and veggie chilli (the only option for me), which was actually pretty nice alongside a couple of pitta breads. Admittedly it was all you can eat, but as I only liked one of the three choices I only went up once, so £10 did seem a little steep.
So onto the actual drinks, I started with Westons Twist Raspberry, which at only 4% was one of the weaker ciders on offer. Described in the programme as a ‘light, fresh and fruity sensation’ my first drink tasted just like raspberry juice and went down a little too well! For my next cider I wanted to go for something a bit more out there so chose one called Fiery Fox, which at 6.5% was somewhat stronger than the first cider but was one of the only strong ciders left on offer (most were gone by the time we arrived at 7.30pm!). This Welsh cider is described as having a ‘smooth balanced flavour that has a fresh, crisp sharpness’ and whilst this went down equally as well as the Westons, for me the taste wasn’t quite as nice. After my first two, I wanted to continue trying new ciders but many had began to run out and whilst I tried one more, whose name escapes me, it tasted quite vinegary and wasn’t really for me. The Westons was definitely my favourite, so I decided to stick with that for my last couple of drinks.
My half of Fiery Fox
As well as the ales, lagers and ciders there was also a Champagne and wine bar which some of the girls decided to frequent instead. The Space Pirates of Rocquaine provided the entertainment with a collection of folk and rock songs, which the crowd certainly seemed to enjoy especially a hen party dressed as pirates with their Jack Sparrow look-a-like guest of honour, who were dancing away long into the night.
The crowd at the Herm Real Ale and Cider Festival
Outfit-wise as I knew it was likely to get a little chilly I plumped for my George at Asda jumper and jewel print trousers from Asos, teamed with a black lace top from New Look and Khaki coat from Dorothy Perkins. Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos but will definitely try to remember next time!
At 10.30 we wondered back down to the harbour to jump on the boat back to Guernsey, and on the way reminisced about what a great night had been had by all. Overall, I would highly recommend the Herm Real Ale and Cider Festival to anyone who wants to have a chilled out, laid back evening listening to music and trying out new drinks with friends. Just make sure you take plenty of cash as there are no machines on the island and you’ll definitely need them! Oh and remember you’ve got to get a boat home at the end of the night, so it’s probably best if you don’t try all the ales and ciders!