Kindly reproduced from: http://confessionsofawinegeek.com/2013/08/26/bangers-smashed/

The Bank Holiday weekend was the date for the fifth annual sausage and beer festival that is Bangers and Smashed. We thought of the idea probably on a stag do some 5 years ago as an excuse for us all to get together when we ran out of weddings. Whereas in our youth it was lager, loud music and gigs that brought us all together, these days things are much more sedate with quality food and beverages being the favourite subject of choice.

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The rules are simple (if often disputed!) and we have taken lots of inspiration from the Eurovision song contest!

1. Choose a region to represent. This can be where you live or where you’re from – where you work was suggested this year but viciously thwarted by one of the gang (and it came back to bite him on the bum severely!)

2. Choose a sausage from said region, or make your own (I’m learning that although the effort is appreciated, it doesn’t always lead to favourable voting – this is a very tough crowd).

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3. Choose a beer from said region. No-one has brewed their own so far, and generally a beer in a bottle is the best course of action.

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4. Vote. Each beer and sausage is given a mark out of 10 from each competitor –you cannot score your own entry.
5. The winner walks away with the highly prized “Pork Sword” and hosts the next event.

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This year’s runners & riders

Mikey – reigning Sausage King

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Made his debut in the event in 2012 and won. We weren’t happy obviously and feel his overconfidence will be his undoing this year. Would look more at home at a One Direction concert.

Region: South Yorkshire (he’s originally a Lanky lad, now living in Sheffield – a traitor)

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Beer: “Riders on the Storm”, Kelham Island Brewery (ABV 4.5%)

Sausage: Pork, garlic, chilli & ginger

Quote: “Winning last year’s event opened a lot of avenues for me. I couldn’t cope with the fame originally but I’ve got used to being recognised.

Al – winner 2011

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Al has anger issues and is the first to argue with any proposed amendment to the rules. Al won in 2011 but, in his opinion, has been cheated out of the crown every other year.

Region: Gloucestershire (lived there for years and years, much to the annoyance of the county’s other residents)

Beer: Prescott Brewery “Grand Prix” (ABV 5.2%)

Sausage: Farmhouse Deli “Dragon-fire” (Pork, ginger, leek and Cajun spice)

Quote: “Winning meant absolutely everything – I just wanted to shove it everyone’s face… Especially Joel’s!”

Mike S (winner 2009 & 2010

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Mike won the first 2 events representing Berkshire; also only lost by half a point to Al in 2011. Moved to Trinidad last year so had to rely on mail order for this year’s entry. Mike also made and donated our wonderful trophy.

Region: in the past Mike has represented Berkshire 3 times, Scotland once (he’s a Sweaty) but this year has opted for his wife Becky’s county of origin, Cornwall (I can feel Al’s anger as I’m writing these words!)

Beer: Keltek Brewery, Lance Golden Ale (ABV 4.0%)

Sausage: Tamblyns Pork & Apple Juice

Quote: “They say it’s better to have won and lost than not won at all, but I’m not so sure. If I win this year there will be a public holiday in Trinidad.”

Joel (no wins)

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The biggest rivalry of the entries is between Joel and Al, both residents of Cheltenham. He really, really wants a win… and he loves Diners, Drive-ins & Dives… as do I!

Region: In the past Joel has represented Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, and was going to opt for Oxfordshire, his place of work, this year until Al suggested not. So he is also representing Gloucestershire this year

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Beer: Corinium Ales “Ale Caesar” (ABV 5.0%)

Sausage: Gloucester Old Spot & Double Gloucester (so Triple Gloucester!)

Quote: “Winning would be better than the day my daughter was born… Or as good anyway.”

Mike E (no wins)

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The quiet sensible one – he runs a power station. Mike puts so much effort into his selections but hasn’t come close to winning yet. He also has a vary scary wife (sorry Charlotte!!)

Region: Born and bred Sussex man who would never think of representing anywhere else

Beer: Arundel Brewery “Old Knucker” (ABV 5.5%)

Sausage: Merry Meats, Yapton Pork & Herb

Quote: “I’ve never even considered winning” (sad face!)

Dave (no wins)

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One of the most passionate foodies known to man and a brilliant cook… It’s a shame he has such a poor taste in beer. Every year. Without fail.

Region: Lived most of his life in Cambridgeshire so that’s his calling… Although he did represent Lincolnshire one year… His beer was dreadful that year too!

Beer: Mile Tree Brewery “Adventurer” (ABV 4.0%)

Sausage: Bramblebee Porkers, Bramblebee Farm

Quote: “Winning would mean that Al could no longer tell me to shut up and listen so much.”

Taff – me (no wins… but 3 second places)

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I’m very eager to win and have come close a few times… As well as last. I entered a sausage a couple of years ago that will go down in history. Al’s wife Mad was a recovering vegetarian… until she tried my Merguez style sausage – she hasn’t eaten meat since!

Region: I went with Hertfordshire for the first 3 years and then switched to Wales… Well, Wales play in the Minor Counties cricket competition so that makes it OK to choose a country!

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Beer: Brains SA Gold (ABV 4.7%) – I took a lot of grief as apparently you can buy it in Lidl!

Sausage: Homemade lamb shoulder, pork belly, mint & honey

Quote: “I love B&S so much and truly believe that one day I’ll win… But I should probably just give up and stick to wine and cheese!”
The competition was enjoyed by the entries and our families in decent weather and when the final scores were added up we had a new first time winner… Congratulations Mr Joel Fryer!

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All the scores are below and as you can see I came joint last (along with the mail order king Mike S) – the beer went down well but the homemade sausage had good flavour but not enough fat content. The festivities went on until the early hours and we can’t wait for next year’s event in Gloucestershire. And a massive thanks to Mikey and Jo for hosting a superb event this year!

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It’s a great event and I encourage you to give it a go!

Here are some of the memorable quotes from the tasting and scoring. Cheers!!!

Dave about Joel’s beer: “It would be great in a pie.”

Joel: “I wanted to divide opinion”
Mikey: “ Well it tastes like Marmite!”

Dave to Joel: “Yours might divide opinion but mine doesn’t”
Joel response: “True, we all think its shit!”

Taff on Dave’s beer: “It could be your best beer yet, so maybe a 4?”

Mike S about Al’s beer: “It certainly tastes like something that would come out of a grand prix car”

Al on Mike E’s beer: “For a dark beer this is remarkably inoffensive”

Mike S on Al’s sausage: “It tastes like a Pot Noodle in a skin.”

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