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    Sunday, 13 April 2008

    Coventry Beer Festival

    Apart from the cathedral I cannot really think of a good reason to visit Coventry. The last time I went to a beer festival there was in the 1990s when it was held at the University, and although it was a good festival, the walk there and back from the station was not a pleasant experience.

    The festival is now located at the rugby union ground, which is nearer the station, but still a less than pleasant journey on foot is required. I travelled from Northampton station with my friend Dave and his prolific letter writing brother Pete, who knew a shortcut to the venue. If I'd have been on my own I would have walked around the ring road, no doubt taking my life in my hands, but the shortcut was safe from vehicular dangers. The rugby club is a comfortable enough venue, although the seating area does feel a bit cramped as is the standing room near the stillage area, but the quantity of toilets cannot be faulted. As for the beer, the choice ran to 80 odd at opening time on the Friday of which not too many had disappeared by opening time on Saturday. A few ciders, bottled beers and country wines made up the numbers. Although this wouldn't really be described as a ticking festival there was still a decent amount of rare beers, and certainly enough new stuff for me to choose from.

    Due to sharing halves, and a couple of smuggled bottled from the US and Denmark, I got through 19 beers. Although beer quality could have been better, and the temperature a little on the warm side (an all too common fault of indoor festivals, but that's for another day), I enjoyed almost everything I tried. The stand out beers were Dark Star Over The Moon, a very modern hoppy mild, and Fullers London Porter, which I've had before but not for many years. It truly lived up to the memory I had of it being a delicious full bodied roasty porter.

    The beer festival opens from 12-4 and 6-11 on just the Friday and Saturday. There's a lot of talk about why festivals need to close during the afternoon, and it's usually because of a lack of staff, who, remember, are all volunteers. Coventry though seemed to be very well staffed; waiting time for beers was very very short, so I'm not sure why there was a need for a two hour kick out. I'm sure though the pubs of Coventry appreciated the extra trade.

    All in all another good festival. One I shall certainly return to. As well as my travelling companions, there were also four RateBeerians: Glen, Simon, Mes and Phil, who all added to it being a great day. Phil, as ever took some superb photographs, which may be found here.


    Stonch said...

    "Apart from the cathedral I cannot really think of a good reason to visit Coventry."

    I'm afraid the same could be said of half the cities in England...

    maeib said...

    Cov is particularly depressing though. Of the cities I go to regularly (Nottm, Derby, Leic and Bham) it's by far the bleakest.

    Stonch said...

    My mate Lenny went to uni there. Recently I overheard him telling someone he'd gone to university "in Warwickshire" in order to imply he went to Warwick. I must say his stock plummeted with me.

    Anonymous said...

    Thats because it was completely flattened in WWII and not rebuilt with the care that German & Belgian Cities were rebuilt and then to top it all they got the 60's concrete bug. Ghost Town was written by The Specials about Cov and it hasn't changed any. Other places are going for regeneration, even my pob Brum is looking a lot better, but Coventry seems determined to become even more run down.


    Anonymous said...


    Warwick University is in Coventry, so your mate wasn't wrong. Its from before the boundary changes for counties.


    Stonch said...

    My mate was wrong, in that he set out to mislead - he didn't go to Warwick University, he went to Coventry University. One is far more respected than t'other. Guess which! ;-)

    haddonsman said...

    Come on, Cov's not that bad. It's got a transport museum. And a shit football club. And... er... a frequent and fast train service to Birmingham.

    I went up the old cathedral tower before the festival and it did offer a good panoramic view.. of a huge, multi-storied fu(k-off sized Ikea.

    BTW - the beer quality wasn't *that* ropey - the only real shame is that there wasn't a cracking pub close by after the kick-out (nearly every fest I do has at least one good pub on the way back to the railway station).

    maeib said...

    Actually Haddonsman, having looked again at my beer notes, I did score the beers pretty highly so I would agree the quality was pretty decent.