Article: Shelford Feast

Can we put our data visualisation skills to use in one of life's trickiest situations: which beer to try first at a beer festival?

Written by Andrew Macpherson, Managing Director.

We've teamed up with the good folks who run the Shelford Feast, whose annual festival has raised more than £200,000 for local good causes over the last 20 years. As part of their week-long celebrations they hold a fantastic beer festival, but with so many great beers on tap it can sometimes be tricky to know where to start - so we thought we'd see whether our data visualisation skills could help!

We've previously investigated how to pour the perfect pint, so we thought that a logical next step in our ongoing quest for awesome ale would be to visualise the variety of beers on offer at the Shelford Feast

In the chart below, the beers are grouped by brewery, and within each brewery we've ranked the beers' colours from light to dark (although various brewers categorise their beers differently, so please take our rankings with a pinch of salt!). As you move across the chart the beers progress from the weaker session ales on the left to the more potent pints on the right.

Buntingford Brewery

Award Winning Traditional Cask Beer Brewers, Based in North Hertfordshire, England.

Kaiser (3.9%)

Dark Brown beer with a ruby hint, brewed with German malt and hops in British Waters.

Northern Brewer (4%)

Earthy herbal & fruity flavours come from the English hops from the 1930s now mostly grown in Germany.

Twitchell (3.8%)

Golden ale with a blend of hops to give a refreshingly balanced fruity aftertaste.


Larcon Brewery

Audit Ale (8%)

The roots of ‘Audit Ale’ can be traced back to at least the fourteenth century. Our archives show Lacons Audit ale was enjoyed by a number of Cambridge and Oxford University colleges to celebrate the end of their annual audits. By popular demand this ale was exported to the USA in champagne style bottles from 1937. This strong dark copper barley wine has a prominent flavour of berry fruit, laced with pronounced spice. The finish is warming, smooth and sweet. A unique style of beer with ‘hop wine’overtones.

Encore (3.8%)

Glowing with a pale amber hue, this flavour packed ale leads with delicate fruit aromas, comfortably balancing a dry pine and citrus crescendo of flavour throughout followed by a finish that is long and dry.

Legacy (4.2%)

Delightfully moreish, this revivifying blonde ale has an abundantly refreshing citrus aroma. This intensifies into a deliciously deep wave of lemon and lime, ending with a lengthy mellowing bitter finish.


Lord Conrads Brewery

The brewery was set up in 2007 and quickly set to the task of making its first ale in the village of Bar Hill just outside Cambridge. The brewery chose to name all of its brews after streets and local points of interest. More recently, the brewery has found a new home in the Manor House Farm in Dry Drayton which many years ago had its own brewhouse.

Gubbins (4%)

Much like its name suggests, a medley of flavours including a hint of spice. UK assured malted Maris otter barley goes in to this brew along with a triple hop and spice combination.

Spiffing Wheeze (3.6%)

A white ale made with jasmine and New Zealand hops.

Zulu Dawn (3.5%)

Zulu bites back with this modern take on a dark ale,this drak mild overrides the senses and enlightens the soul. UK assured malted roasted barley and Crystal malt.


Milton Brewery

Founded in June 1999 in Milton, a village on the outskirts of Cambridge, the Milton Brewery is the first brewery in the village since the Essex Brewery closed in 1921.

Lanterne Rouge (6%)

Bright golden ale. Bold, hoppy aroma, with a full tropical/citrus fruit flavour and a strong bitter finish.

Minerva (4.6%)

Golden ale. Brewed with US, NZ and British hops for a powerful hop punch and satisfying bitterness. First brewed in collaboration with Prof. Mary Beard when it was felt that a some feminine wisdom could usefully be added to our range.

Nero (5%)

A satisfying, full-flavoured black brew with a good balance of malt, roast and fruit. Bittersweet flavours carry through to a dry finish. Nero is an unfined beer and is therefore suitable for vegans.

Pegasus (4.1%)

Complex copper-coloured beer. The initial hoppiness is balanced with a long fruity, malty finish. Very moreish.


Moonshine Brewery

The Moonshine Brewery has been established for over 10 years in the Cambridge area. In that time our beers have won numerous national and regional awards. Our beers are characterised by their clean, fresh taste which is thanks in no small part to the natural spring water that is used to make them.

Cambridge Best (4.2%)

Copper coloured, English best bitter; the malt and hop aromas carry through to the taste and the finish is rounded with a growing hop bitterness.

Heavenly Matter (4.1%)

A crisp, clean, straw coloured light bodied beer. Citra hops are prominent throughout, with a huge hoppy citrus, tropical fruit aroma and taste which leads to a generous bitterness in the finish.

Nightwatch Porter (4.5%)

Five types of malts, four varieties of hops and locally produced honey are blended together to create a unique, rounded sweet-starting and dry-finishing old style traditional porter.

Shelford Crier (3.9%)

A light bodied amber coloured beer; citrus fruit bouquet and taste that continues through to a refreshing clean and dry finish.


Nethergate Brewery

The Nethergate Brewery was born in 1986, in the small town of Clare, in Suffolk. Like many great ideas it was conceived in a pub between two friends, one a business man and the other a Micro Biologist.....the perfect team to set a brewery up.

Lemonhead (4%)

Some partnerships were obviously meant to be (Lennon & McCartney, Morecombe & Wise) whilst others produce greatness to everyone's surprise (Starsky & Hutch, Bert & Ernie). Well, add to that list Lemon & Ginger, 'cause boy do they hit the spot in our uber-refreshing, deep golden ale, Lemon Head. The intriguing union of lemon and ginger creates an unmistakable thirst quenching surprise.

Old Growler (5%)

The legendary Old Growler - what a pedigree, what a porter! Like a grumpy old family pet much loved for its independent character and suffer-no-fools attitude, yet its curmudgeonly appearance belying its gentle character and easy going nature. The only beer to have twice won Overall Champion at the CAMRA Winter Beer Festival; its many awards also include Supreme Champion at the Chicago International Beer Festival and voted Best of 2011 by the Beer Tasting Institute of America, so it's even top dog across the pond. A complex, satisfying Porter, smooth and distinctive. Roast malt and fruit feature on the palate and the finish is powerfully hoppy. Tantalising taste buds since 1988. Now where did we put that Crufts entry form, it must be time for another award by now?

Umbel Ale (3.8%)

We've been messing around with coriander in beer since 1988, just as they did back in the 1700's. The coriander in our multi-award winning Umbel Ale gives a floral aroma, fruity tang and a well-rounded finish. Thirst quenching and absolutely cracking with spicy food. The beer writer Michael Jackson said of this amber beer: "This astonishingly fresh-tasting, bone-dry lemony brew is addictive and appetising: a distinctive arid beautiful beer".


Saffron Brewery

Saffron Brewery is a micro brewery producing heritage ales with a contemporary twist. Using only the finest floor malted barley and English hops a range of real ales has been created to satisfy all palates from the session drinker to the connoisseur.

Citurian (3.8%)

Light golden ale with grapefruit aromas and a crisp gooseberry finish

Royal Blue (4.1%)

Fruity traditional ale, malty with mellow sweet citrus tones

Summertime Blue (5.5%)

Smooth powerful golden ale, balancing citrus tones and malty flavours. Lingering floral finish.


Tasting notes for the beers are kindly supplied by the respective breweries. The chart above was created using the Graph Builder platform in SAS JMP.

While we've made every effort to create an accurate and useful chart, please note that the beers available on the day may vary, and that any hangover resulting in the use of this chart is your responsibility!

As well as visualising data for beer festivals, we also provide specialist statistical support to a wide range of clients. To find out whether we may be able to assist you, please contact us.