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    Friday, 18 April 2008

    How Many Beers Make A Festival?


    The King Billy in Northampton is advertizing a beer festival next week to celebrate St George's Day. It's a good thing that a pub chooses to do this and hopefully it will be a success and raise the profile of real ale both in this pub and the town as a whole. It's a fairly small affair with just ten beers, which is less than the Malt Shovel just hundred yards away has on on a permanent basis. Still it's a start, so good luck to them.

    I may pop in if I have time, but my priority next week is the Joy Of Six Beer Festival at The Merchants Inn in Rugby where sixty six beers are promised during the week.

    Do you think 10 beers constitutes a beer festival or is there a lower limit?

    13 comments:

    Stonch said...

    A very nice pub restaurant a couple of hundred yards from my door currently has a beer festival on, with casks from the likes of Dark Star, Elland and Phoenix. They have about 8 beers in total on stillage. I think that's a festival. It won't attract the tickers, but then that's not what they're aiming for.

    Another very nice pub - also within a couple of minutes stagger from door - has had a "staggered" festival on for the last few weeks, where they have two excellent micro beers on at a time in addition to the normal Adnams and Landlord. Again, I think that's a festival. Again, it wouldn't attract tickers, but that's not the point.

    Bailey said...

    I've noticed that almost every pub within a mile of my office has had one of the staggered festivals on recently. It's quite nice, if a bit weird that they've all decided to do it at once. It means, in practice, that if you go to the same pub twice in a month, you'll find two or three new beers, which is about all any of us lot every really ask.

    And me and Boak had a very nice time at a small festival in the Castle, Walthamstow, a few weeks back. They had about 10-12 beers on, which was just enough to get through in a night or two. Perfect!

    Any fewer than 10 beers, though, and the festival is wee -- almost too wee...

    maeib said...

    I agree it's not about how rare the beers are, but the fact that they are beers not normally available in that pub.

    Having given it more thought, I think there only needs to be more beers available than on a normal day. To that end, by my rules, your first example would certainly be a festival. But the second one would only be if there's an increase from two to four at any given time.

    Stonch said...

    Bailey, that may be because they're all in the Mitchells & Butlers "Castle" estate - the unbranded ones with lots of beers.

    Andy Holmes said...

    I think there has to be a lower limit. For example if a pub that normally sold 6 beers advertised a festival, you went out of your way to attend and found that they were selling one extra beer you'd probably be a tad annoyed, especially if the usual six included a constantly changing line up!

    The Beer Nut said...

    They get away with just six in Munich every September - all readily available elsewhere - without anyone calling in their festive credentials.

    (Except me)

    maeib said...

    Beer Nut - You are spot on. That's not a beer festival. It's a complete piss up for piss up's sake

    Stonch said...

    Come on lads, don't be daft. Of course the O-fest is a beer festival - it's a festival, and it's based around beer. It might not be your cup of tea, but it's still a bloody beer festival.

    As for this: "It's a complete piss up for piss up's sake". Yes. And? What else should a beer festival be?

    maeib said...

    I cannot believe that you think beer festivals should be piss ups.

    So every time you go to a festival be it a tiny little pub one, or GBBF or its ilk, you go just to get pissed do you?

    I have rarely seen anybody pissed at a festival, and have never been pissed yself, so somebody's doing it wrong

    Stonch said...

    Oh, come off it, that's not what I meant at all! For me, beer festivals should be about having fun, aided by beer and the wonderful effects it has on one if used sensibly. Yes, I know a lot of people get unpleasantly hammered at the O-fest - and that's not good - but I prefer not to get sanctimonious about these things. I've been drunk myself plenty of times, and don't want to be a hypocrite.

    I appreciate you have a hobby that involves trying as many beers as you can, appreciating them, analysing them and then taking notes, and I'm not denigrating that. As Gazza Prescott has written rather eloquently on his website, there are lots of people who have conceptually similar pastimes (he talks about the "collecting gene"). But that isn't the case for me or for the vast majority of beer drinkers.

    I enjoy reading your blog and commenting on it - you will notice I regularly do so - but I do think you're in danger of disappearing up your own arse on this one. My readers pull me up on things like this all the time!

    maeib said...

    What started off as a discussion on the number of beers at a beer festival seems to have turned into a debate on the merits of Oktoberfest. I stand by my opinion (for that's what it is I've never been) that it's organised drunkenness and far removed from any beer festival I want to go to.

    You may disagree, which is healthy, but I'm not sure I'm regressing up my own arse. Although I'm told it is a lovely arse.

    Stonch said...

    I've never been either. We're both talking out of our arse.

    The Beer Nut said...

    Personally I'm sceptical about the whole concept of a festival happening inside a pub. I think a pre-requisite for a beer festival is that it happens in temporary accommodation, and that a normal licensed premises should have at least a marquee out back for the event if they're going to call what they're doing a festival. Otherwise it's just having a few extra beers on, and that won't make grim pubs any more festive. (As opposed to big tents which automatically generate love and happiness wherever they are erected.)