Is this a new addition to the Beer Festival calendar? I don’t know, I only found out about it on the Thursday (6th) before I went along on the Friday (7th). Either way it was a 67 bus and a 5 minute walk to the ground on a baking hot day.
£5 for a drinking time of 6pm – 10pm got you your half pint glass, a programme and a free half first pint of any Robinsons beer. I chose the Iron Maiden Trooper (4.7%) – I thought better of starting with an Old Tom’s (8.5%) as many a night have I thought “just a half” of that brew will be OK, only to then occasion falling asleep in various locations – the good, smiley kind of sleep, not the passed out unconscious and unwakeable in a doorway surrounded by puke sleep.
The guide was cleverly constructed with each beer numbered and the barrels were laid out numerically, save for wasting time looking up and down for the brew of choice. The guide is actually not in numeric order, 1st page of beers was 1-10, then it lept to 31-40, don’t know if this was a trick to keep punters wits about them, but it all worked successfully in the end.
The food is your usual match day fodder crap – in that weather a BBQ wouldn’t go amiss, so nothing was consumed other than beer (pies were precured afterwards).
The facilities were the ground’s toilets, which were next to an eerily uninhabited ‘wine bar’.
In fact, let me be honest. There were more staff there than customers and that number difference grew even more when security turned up.
Whether this poor turn out (I say poor as everything is relative) was due to the hot weather, the location, the possible under advertising or just that the Saturday (and Sunday) will be the bigger day, I don’t know.
It has the set up and capacity to be a very good fesitval. Good premises, large selection of beers (60 + 3 that weren’t in the guide) and ciders (and the aforementioned wine bar).
Staff, who while not being rushed off their feet were helpful and attentive and it had a good token/price system.
Beers seemed to be from £1.20 to £1.50 based on %abv and tokens (cards of 10p, 20p and £1) could be bought in £5 packs. Its a sensible way of doing things – I even think the cards had a heat induced rugby ball on them as some kind of security.
My beer reviews will follow, but for the event itself, I hope it succeeds and can be an annual event.
Thanks to all staff and everyone involved in making it an entertaining night.
Oh, please put a ‘push’ and ‘pull’ on the doors.