Sunday, 14 November 2010

Liverpool Beer Festival 2011

The CAMRA Liverpool Beer Festival will be taking place from 24 to 26 February in the splendid surroundings of the Liverpool Catholic Cathedral crypt. Why mention this now so far in advance? Because it's a ticket only do, and your only chance to buy tickets is fairly soon on Saturday 4 December: you have to queue between 10am and 1pm at the Gibberd Room in the cathedral. Why they don't just put the tickets on line with WeGotTickets or some similar ticket agency is beyond me - it's so simple and people wouldn't have to make a special journey to Liverpool - but that's how it is. Full details are on the website.

Other ways to get tickets include being matey with a Liverpool branch member or volunteering to work. Otherwise, tickets are £7 for each session, and as they still close in the afternoon between 4pm and 7pm, the afternoon and evening sessions are completely separate - you can't drink through from one to the other.  CAMRA members get a discount in beer vouchers (£2, I think).

This festival has a large range of beers and the venue is wonderful. Plus, when they chuck you out, there are some great pubs in Liverpool. If you can't get tickets, the Ship and Mitre on Dale Street usually has a beer festival on at the same time, but even if they haven't, their beer range is exceptional anyway.


  1. Used to love going on the Friday afternoon when you could pay on the door. OK, you often had to queue but the selection of beer and the location made it worth it. Now, as with so many other things in life it has become complicated..

  2. This sounds like an excellent event which I've failed at getting tickets for in the past.

    Queuing up to buy tickets? You can even buy Take-That tickets online!

    Think I'm going to have to find some other way as I really want to go...

  3. The most ludicrous aspect of their ticket system is that you go on-line to find out how to apply for tickets by post! It took about 15-20 minutes to set up a WeGotTickets account for the Bothy Folk Club. The facility's there - why not use it and save a heck of a lot of work in the process?

    I can only suggest you apply to work for a session, then you can get tickets.

  4. It looks like you can apply for tickets via post as well, does this mean that you will get them or is it a lucky dip?

  5. It's first out of the hat, but it looks from the website that they may have sold out. Check it here.

  6. Gentlemen, I rest my case. Even buying a couple of tickets has now become a bureaucratic exercise.

    Nevile, do you remember when George and Isobel had the Heatons Bridge? Did they have a fancy electronic till? No. Just a big draw with "compartments" for various coins and notes. Did the system work well? Yes.

    Do we remember times when life was simple?

  7. I do remember the Heatons Bridge from those days.

    I've set up a page on this blog to record local beer festivals (not including pub festivals), and most aren't so bureaucratic. There are five, and you can just pay on the door for four of them.

  8. Thanks Nev.

    Am I right in thinking this will be the last year Manchester will host the Winter Ales Festival?

  9. I know that moving it is been considered; I haven't heard that any decision has been made yet. CAMRA branches were asked for views, and I proposed that our reply should be to keep it where it is. The venue is good, they've built up expertise, so why change it? Unless the organisers have had enough, I suppose!

  10. I do think it's long overdue that tickets are available online, but that might only encourage demand, and when demand is so high anyway...

    They're clearly trying to restrict demand by limiting CAMRA members to 1 priority ticket each, but I still expect to be freezing and stood in the street come December.

    Perhaps a £10+ ticket price might slow demand?

  11. It would slow demand, but make the festival dearer than the GBBF. Selling tickets the way they do means that people who live further away are unlikely to attend. I've no intention of travelling down from Southport just to stand in the cold in the hope of buying a ticket.

  12. "people who live further away are unlikely to attend"

    Yeah, I think this is unfortunate as the Crypt really is a building to be seen.

    ...and yep, I'll be in the queue come Saturday.

  13. Even though I could get the train in from Burscough, and even if the weather suddenly became much warmer, I have better things to do with my Saturday mornings.

    I suppose if it ever becomes less popular and there was less of a demand for the tickets,would they consider people living further afield.

    Why have things changed? I remember buying tickets in the Junction which is near Rainford!

  14. Wigan doesn't have as picturesque a venue, but it is a great festival and easily accessible by train from Burscough. I'll be working there. It's on 3rd to 5th March 2011. See my festival page for other local ones.

  15. ...Just for the record, I got to the queue at 7.30am, and I wasn't the first in line. I managed to get Friday and Saturday tickets.

    Friend behind me got to the queue at 8.30am and Friday tickets had sold out by the time he got to the front.

    The queue was massive, and 400 tickets for Friday went pretty quick.

    Anyone queuing much after 8.30 was limited to Thursday tickets.

  16. Well done. You've shown more determination than I would have done.


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