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Sunday, 12 September 2010

After The Feast, The Reckoning

After months of work, with some of the preparations going back nearly a year, the beer festival seems over in flash - or at least a weekend. There wasn't a lot of beer left, the ciders and perries were near enough sold out and most customers seemed to enjoy themselves. Friday night was particularly packed, as we didn't have the use of an overspill room that we were able to use on Saturday owing to a wedding. That room was where we had the music on Saturday, with me playing in the afternoon, although this nearly didn't happen when I couldn't get the hotel's PA to work. Andy from the hotel also couldn't get it to work either, so I tentatively asked whether the power cable might be faulty. "Unlikely," he replied. After he'd checked everything else, he found another power cable, and the amplifier lights came on!

Gallimaufry played a varied set in the evening that impressed the beer festival audience, which are notoriously difficult to win over as people don't go to a beer festival primarily for music, but this audience was attentive and appreciative. Galli played a suitably eclectic set, comprising a mixture of tunes and songs, from Beatles played classically to traditional folk.

We had the usual mixture of customers, from the familiar real ale eccentrics to apparently sane ordinary people with a full age range from young to pensioners. I saw three young women walk to the bar, knowledgeably order what they wanted and walk away, one with a dark beer and two with lighter ales. The days of a young woman just tagging along as the long-suffering girl friend do seem to be heading into the past, and that mixed choice of drinks is one in the eye for people who think women only like a certain style of beer (i.e. light, citrussy and without too powerful a flavour). On the Saturday we were invaded by a load of people dressed as clowns. I never found out what that was about.

During the festival I had confirmed something I had suspected for some time now: someone from a local paper said he liked this blog and had sometimes had scrutinised it for items for the paper. Well, if it helps get the word around about the events this blog mentions, then I suppose that's all right.

Today involved taking down the festival, emptying the barrels and pouring the unsold beer away (the worst part of any festival), dismantling the heavy scaffolding, loading it into a van and trying the convert our festival room back into a hotel function room. Our review meeting is in a couple of weeks when early decisions on next year's festival will be taken, then the whole cycle begins all over again.

By the way, the beer of the festival as voted by the customers was Golden Sands yet again. Congratulations to Southport Brewery.

Dave Thackeray has written about the festival on his blog, which includes a short video report you might like.

4 comments:

  1. You throw the beer away? Why?! Is it a legal thing?

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  2. No, it's not a legal thing. Once a cask has been opened, it has a very limited shelf life, perhaps 4 or 5 days. If you move a cask, it stirs up all the sediment and makes the beer into something resembling mud. Once the festival is over, we have to vacate the room, so apart from festival volunteers filling up plastic containers to take home (I forgot to take mine with me!), any beer left over can only be discarded, as we have to return the barrels. If a barrel is unopened, it can be used elsewhere, but there's not much you can do with an opened cask of beer that you have to remove from the festival room, churning up the sediment in the process.

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  3. I didn't go this year. Looking at the beer list there were so many north west breweries represented, there were only a few beers I hadn't already sampled.

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  4. I suppose they were looking for a theme, but I'm not sure why you have to have one, if an obvious one doesn't spring to mind.

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