Drinking beer is doing good, as far as the Chester Charity Beer festival goes. Over the course of 28 years they have raised £220,000 for local charities and communities, with the help of the beer loving folk of Chester.
This year, the festival had experienced a slight metamorphosis compared to the previous years, starting with the addition of keg beers, served from specifically allocated brewery bars. The giants of Chester beer scene, award winning conglomerates Kash and Deva Craft Beer stood shoulder to shoulder serving a selection of beers of their own creating, as well as a superb selection of popular concoctions from the likes of Wild Beer, Wylam Brewery, Beavertown and Crafty Devil Brew.
The set up was also different – or maybe that’s just us. It felt different. Everything flowed better than in previous years, from buying your beer tokens to finding your beers. Perhaps it was that the signs were bigger and we hadn’t had that much beer yet – who knows! The only thing that seems to be an ever present annoyance are the tilting bathrooms at the back but honestly, after a few brews you hardly notice it.
The bands were also a little different – which is not a bad thing. Mixing the entertainment up a little every year is definitely a strategy we heartily endorse, and the festival saw some fantastic bands on the stage, from (and yes, we may be slightly biased as they also played at our wedding) Fortune Sellers to The 3 Kings to The Fakes closing.
A few years back we mentioned that the beer list needed some love and excitement, and this year we are happy to eat crow. From bold pales to superb sours, to rocking ryes and delicious dark beers the list was comprehensive as well as adventurous. On account of there being 130+ Ales, Ciders and Perries there was no way even us, your professional ale lovers extra ordinaire, could have made our way through all of them, but the ones we did try were fantastic, well-kept and served with such friendly attitude from the volunteers we really wish we could have!
…But not so much that we would have dared the infamous Yard of Ale, which again this year claimed many a victim. With masks. And a timer. And from what we hear, a sympathy victory.
So, what’s next for the Charity Beer Festival, apart from raising money and raising hell next year? “Having the guys from Blueball, Deva Craft and Wild Horse behind the bars went down really well so I’d like to have even more brewers involved. The Keg bars were a big success and I could put on some really interesting beers there so I can only see that growing. We’re always looking to keep our customers happy and coming back so we’d love to hear any suggestions for new directions”, says Kelvin Lawson, the main organiser of the event.
“Above all it’s about having fun while raising funds for local charities, and all the volunteers had as much of a blast as the customers. It takes a lot of effort but we absolutely love running the festival!”
Cheers to that!