Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dewsbury Beer Festival (a punter's view)

I finally got chance to visit the Dewsbury festival on Friday afternoon. As Will stated, the venue was easy enough to find, a 5 minute walk from the station and head for the white sheeted building. The inside was what one would expect from a Victorian council building, ornate and spectacular. That didn't stop me getting lost though. I finally managed to get a ticket for the festival from a ticket office downstairs to get into the festival on the floor above.

Up there the beers were on a mixture of stillage and hand pumps in a medium sized hall which was reasonably full. All the seats were taken but there was room to move about and the bars were well manned. It did seem rather warm and became a bit oppressive as the day wore on. The system used was tried and tested, with £2 deposit for a glass (£1 refundable), marked in pints,halves and thirds and the old £5 beer ticket with various amounts scrubbed off for every beer you ordered. This did present a problem when drinking in thirds as most came in under £1 and caused confusion for some of the bar staff. Maybe the £1 amounts should be altered to 2 x 50p to assist, however unused portions were refundable.

As for the beers, there was a range to suit all palettes, but the warmth of the hall did them no favours and those on the bar did not seem to be as chilled as I hoped. I tried eight from various Yorkshire breweries, Yorkshire beers did predominate at the festival and all were adequate but none spectacular, and one was disappointing - but I will not name it. There were plenty of new beers to try, Brian Moore was there and he needed around 15 so my fears about the lack of something different were unfounded. There was some confusion as to where to get some of the beers with two bars operating. The second bar being a 'Brewsters' bar with beer from female brewers only - OK if you knew which beers were brewed by females, otherwise a bit haphazard.
It was a decent festival, there were issues, but nothing that cannot be ironed out if they try again, and it attracted people from far and wide. It was good to see some of the old stagers there rubbing shoulders with local drinkers too. Lets hope that local CAMRA are encouraged for another attempt, maybe earlier or later in the year when the room would be less warm.

As an aside, those travelling from away were not helped by a signal failure which stopped trains running for 2 hours at the rush hour meaning the only escape from the town was either by service bus or rail replacement coach, not an ideal way to travel after several pints at a festival.

1 comment:

Mike Roebuck said...

Hi chaps

thanks very much for the feedback on the festival and the great online pics. (Daisy will be thrilled, I'm sure).

Looks like we might be repeating it next year, so keep an eye open.

Cheers,

Mike
Heavy Woollen CAMRA branch chair.