Reading’s 21st Annual Beer Festival

As I am deep in revision, bank holiday’s are pretty irrelevant to me, however I decided to take a break and join in the festivities. A group of us decided to head to Reading’s Annual Beer Festival for the first time, and we had a cracking evening.

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The festival promotes locally brewed beers and ciders but there was also a small foreign beer section as well as local wines. We were all blown away at the size of the marquee when we arrived and had really underestimated the scale of the event. We pre-booked tickets which came with 4 half pint tokens. All of the beers were sold in pints, half pints, and third pints which allowed you to try as many as you liked. Economically it worked out that half a pint worked out as half the price of a pint so that you didn’t lose out if you wanted the smaller amounts. You could also get tasters of the beers but as the night got busier, they were more concerned with serving the people who were actually buying drinks.

There is one big criticism that I have of the festival. It began on Thursday and we visited on the Saturday night, by which point a lot of the beers were already sold out. They gave a detailed programme, describing all of the beers, but every time we found one that we fancied we would repeatedly find that it was already gone. I realise it must be hard for them to judge what will sell, and they don’t want to waste money, but it got pretty annoying. You would think it would be better starting on the Friday night and continuing to the Sunday night (considering the Monday is a bank holiday) so that the busier nights had a better selection. When you are paying the same amount for entry as earlier in the week, you’d think they would keep it fair and put some of the more popular beers aside.

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They also ran out of Hog Roast. Which I am still furious about. I am a serious sufferer from hanger – hunger influenced anger, or even if I just disappointed by food. I had my heart set on the Hog Roast, and the donner meat on chips that I ended up having was nothing in comparison.

They had live bands playing which were superb and got everyone dancing. I’m not a beer connoisseur but I had a great time because the atmosphere was fantastic. It’s no Oktoberfest but it really was a great evening, they just need to sort out their stock issues. It’s all over now, but if CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) organise an event like this near you I would definitely recommend going. If not, we will just have to wait for next year!

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Click here for their facebook page if you want to keep up to date with the festival and other events.

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