MORE than 9,000 pints of real ale and 3,000 pints of cider were drank at this year’s Bromsgrove Beer and Cider Festival, which turned out to be the best one in the event’s history.
There were 55 per cent more people on the Friday night, compared with previous years, and the supping was virtually non-stop from 6pm on Thursday (June 25) when the festival opened to 3pm on the Saturday (June 27) when the beer ran out.
Spokesperson for the event, Tony Colclough, said the festival had become a victim of its own success.
“We had 30 volunteers on the ale bars on Friday night and ten on the cider bar and they were rushed off their feet.
“We have to give a lot of credit to them – they worked themselves into the ground.”
He also praised Bromsgrove Rugby Club, where the event was held.
“They put on some great entertainment, there were some fantastic acts on.”
Among them were the locally-based Blackwell Concert Band.
Speaking about the beer stocks he said contingency plans were put into place and people were able to get drinks from the rugby club’s bars.
“Because you can’t tell how successful, it is difficult to judge how much you will need – in previous years we have had to throw beer away.”
He added the group would be meeting to see what other measures could be taken in the future.
One visitor was Jenny Lehane who came with her husband Tony and friends Karen and Brian Perrygrove.
Jenny said: “It’s a brilliant event – we always bring the caravan and camp here for the three days.
“And it looks like we’re going to get the weather for a lovely weekend.”
The beer of the festival was Fixed Wheel’s Single Speed Rakau, with Red Squirrel Hopfest and Slaters’ Haka joint second.
Among the top ciders and perries were Clent Cider, Thistly Cross and brews from Gwynty y Draig which provided a cider and a perry.
This year’s event was a momentous one for the Redditch and Bromsgrove branch of CAMRA which celebrated 40 years of campaigning.
Brett Laniosh, who is a former RBCAMRA chairman and now a national director for the Campaign for Real Ale, described it as ‘an amazing achievement for the group’.
He also paid tribute to previous branch chairmen and each one received a bottle of Fortitude – a special beer brewed for the festival by Bromsgrove’s Bird’s Brewery.
The Worcester-Birmingham and Droitwich Canal Society was chosen as the festival charity in its 200th anniversary year. Funds raised will go towards the Lime Kiln Project in Tardenigge.
The society’s chairman David Wheeler said: “It’s an honour to have been chosen.
“We were very pleased, especially as I, myself, live in Bromsgrove.
“I’m a local lad and I can’t think of a better way of spending a weekend – promoting the canal society and having a few beers or ciders.
“Real ale and narrowboating go hand in hand,” he added.
A host of awards were also given out, including the Rocklands Social Club being named the RBCAMRA Club of the Year and Ambridge Brewery’s Jester winning joint best ale of the Redditch Winter Ales Festival.
John Novak, from the Ambridge Brewery, said: “It was amazing – we have only been going a year and this is our first proper award.
“It’s something we can now build on.”