St. Paddy's from the Buntingford Brewery, named best beer of the
Festival, was first to run out, then by 9pm on the Saturday night, all
the beers had run out, in spite of an extra 54 gallons ordered in
after a busy Friday.
Such was the demand for ale, that a queue developed outside the venue,
the Old Town Hall, and a 'one out, one in' system was implemented.
Frustrated boozers had to brave the local yobberyand venture into
Whoa whoa whoa...
Oh good. Another rant copied straight from a local press article by Mr
Anonymous. For Gods sake, what is your problem with the festival and
the organisers (North Herts CAMRA & the Round Table)?
For the benefit of the rest of the universe, some important facts
missing from the above:
1. The licence for the event restricted numbers in the hall. Hence on
occasions there was a queue to get in. A not uncommon scenario, and the
reason why many festivals are ticket only.
2. Saturday night was the last night. And if the organisers could have
got more beer in on the Saturday they would have done. But sadly not
everyone has access to Jupiters hindsight. To run out 90 minutes or so
from closing time on the last night is not a complete disaster. And it
is certainly not uncommon either.
3. We ventured out to a local pub after a few hours at the festival on
the Friday night, and didn't come across any of the yobbery mentioned.
But maybe there wasn't any in the first place?
4. Reports of the beer of the festival may also be a bit premature,
given that this info has not been officially announced to my knowledge
(and I am sure I would have been told officially if it had...).
So Jupiter, were you there? I doubt it from the above. But then it is
so much easier to criticise from a distance, anonymously, and with the
amazing benefit of hindsight.
Just what is it you hold against the Hitchin Beer Festival, or perhaps
it is against one of the volunteer groups that (successfully it would
seem) work so hard to make the festival so damn popular in the first
place (North Herts CAMRA & Hitchin Round Table)?
Come on, speak up that man. And stop hiding, it's not clever. And I'm
sure your help as volunteer staff would be willingly accepted next year.
I'd say that was quite good.
I went to a small beer festival here recently and was very disappointed.
Doors opened at 14:00 for the general public (ticket event) and 13:00 for
Beer Club members. Last orders was supposed to be at 18:30 and closing at
19:00. The first beer (a chocolate stout) ran out at 15:00 and by 16:30
everything had gone. People who turned up after 15:00 hoping to try some
of the beers were probably very unhappy. I don't know as I got fed up
and left before 16:30 and went to a pub for a couple of pints and a roast
Registered Linux user #375994
Yep, bad organisation but BETTER than the previous year's event! The beer
wasn't that impressive anyway, most Japanese micro-brewers still have a
lot to learn. For me, of the beers I tried only two were worth drinking
and one of those I've had many times before. The entrance ticket allowed
each person 6 glasses of beer and there was a table selling extra coupons
for those that had had their six. They couldn't turn away punters with
tickets but they weren't selling any more beer to people already in the
hall. One thing that irked me was that Beer Club members were getting
almost full glasses and the 'plebs' who paid more to get in were getting
theirs only half filled.
Registered Linux user #375994
I thought the Hitchin festival was very good, although I went during
the day on Saturday and didn't have the problems of having to queue to
get in or being faced with rows of empty casks. There was an excellent
range of ale, cider and perry for a local festival.
The queuing and running out of drink are proof of how successful it
was. Thanks to everyone concerned with the organisation of the event
for doing a good job, much appreciated by ordinary punters like myself.
As for the "local yobbery" aspect, Hitchin is probably no different
from any other town in that the town centre is plagued by antisocial
scum in the evenings especially at weekends, and the festival
organisers can hardly be held responsible for the behaviour. Most of
the lowlife in question frequent certain bars where they can get "well
mashed" on shots 'n' alcopops, and locals know which bars to avoid.
I'm sure if anyone not local had asked a member of the festival staff
which pubs to go to, or which to avoid, they would have been given good
Having just spoken with the local branch, it is exactly as I suspected.
St Paddy did NOT win Beer Of The Festival. The winner has not yet
been chosen by the branch, and it is NOT one of those shortlisted (The
winner is chosen by opinion by a few of the organisers in the branch,
not public opinion).
The press had run away with the idea based on it being far and away the
fastest selling beer, and not any official pronouncements.
Just another reason why posters should not quote verbatim from the press
- or at least not without quoting their source in the first place!
Awards do not always go to the first to sell, or to the best sellers.
It depends on how they are judged, and the presence of voting forms does
not always mean that the public have full say in what wins. Many are
now chosen by a panel, and this is often the fairest way, as there is
less potential for vote rigging, or beers being chosen on the say so of
just one or two individuals
The last Coventry beer festival I worked on (I've been idle and stayed away
for a while) ran out 15 minutes before the end of the Saturday session.
It took nerve to keep the staff calm about the amount left at lunchtime,
but I sounded confident that the beer would last and it did.
Interestingly approximately 40% of the beers were still available 90
minutes from the end - just not in large quantity.
 This years opens in about 45 minutes. I'm toying with the idea of
visiting. It would be the first time I've been as a customer.
OK, the offending organ was the 'Stevenage Comet', aka 'Stevenage
Vomit' - Archant Newspaper Group.
As former Bar Manager for several Clubs, running out of beer is not an
unknown event in that milieu, either. You could normally borrow from
another establishment - anything that would take a Sankey fitting and
looked the right colour would do. More often than not the punters
didn't know the difference and if there were any experts you could
stick a bit of paper over the font. And as for livening up the light
mild with 1/2 gallon of lager, that's another story.
I didn't read his post as a rant against the festival!!! It read like
praise for a highly successful festival!!!!
I thought saying the beer ran out in the last hour on Sat night
despite an extra 54 gallons being got in at the last minute was also
saying how overwhelmingly successful it was.
I wish our beer festival was like this ...
Chris de Cordova (West Cumbria & Western Lakes) www.westcumbriacamra.org.uk
Whitehaven Beer Festival: Oct 6th & 7th 2006 (provisional)
Indeed. Mr Banfield does seem to be extremely sensitive about press
reporting of the North Herts Festival. It might even be that the
advance publicity with the horrible glass of fob encouraged more
attendees, and there's plenty of alternatives in Hitchin Town Centre
when the beer runs out.
There's no problem with left over cask conditioned beer in a permanent
venue. It'll sell another day. Unsold beer at a temporary venue IS a
problem. It's a problem to move it around and try to settle it again
(there are ways around this but purists might object, e.g. reprime and
fine, which the excise might also be interested in). Top pressure
stuff is another matter.
>I wish our beer festival was like this ...
and we went.
New venue, increased popularity, additional beer at the start and more
brought in. Air-conditioned room and notes to people that it might be cool
but that the temperature helped the beer.
We left after the lunch session and my prediction was that they were not
going to make it through the evening. Must phone Paul and find out how
accurate I was on the time.