RogerBW's Blog

Be(aver) My Valentine at the Beavertown Brewery 16 February 2016

On Saturday I went to the fourth birthday party of the Beavertown Brewery in Tottenham Hale. (Images follow; all are cc-by-sa.)

In spite of its being a cold grey drizzly day, there was a substantial queue, which didn't get any shorter as things went on.

They did hand out beer to the queue, though.

This turned out to be because the end of the queue was for merchandise purchase as well as getting one's glass and beer tokens. This seems like an elementary mistake, the sort of thing one might do if one had heard about beer festivals but never actually been to one before. (But they've had these events before, so…)

A little over an hour after opening time, the venue had reached capacity (3,000) and the gates were closed, with people let in only as others left.

I still don't entirely believe in Korean burritos, but they were Very Good Indeed. (From KimChinary.)

Quite a few brewers turned up, typically with just one or two beers, served from a tabletop dispenser/chiller unit. Mostly they didn't bother to advertise what beers they had: you had to pick something you wanted, then find the brewer (the blue banners) and hope they still had it. After about 3.30 they started to run out, though lower-strength session beers were mostly available into the evening.

Queues for toilets were 15-20 minutes at times, with only three urinals available in the main area and a few more hidden away. I got the feeling they'd been surprised by the size of the crowd this year. I hope so, anyway.

Later on we moved into the warehouse, to get out of the cold and rain (and away from the band, which had pretty much taken over one of the beer tents as the vendors ran out of beer and shut down for the night).

A Key Keg disposable keg, showing wrinkles in the sealed beertight bag inside the plastic structural shell.

The Secret Bar for the Cool People. (Well, trade and volunteers.)

What is an electric drum kit doing in a beer warehouse?

Most of the beers were in the American "craft beer" style: high strength, lots of hops and citrus flavours. I don't mind these occasionally, though I don't know the style well enough to spot differences between them and I certainly wouldn't want to drink them all the time. There were some decent table beers, including a "Space Plankton Table Beer" from The Hanging Bat which was probably my favourite of the day. (Unfortunately they don't brew it regularly, and in any case they don't seem to be set up for small-scale sales.)

The crowd was a fair bit younger than at a CAMRA festival, though with a beard ratio around 50%, and while they were drinking quite heavily I saw no sign of anyone becoming incapable. On the other hand, smashed glass didn't get cleaned up straight away, and I saw a fair few people stumbling off unlit steps and kerbs.

A CAMRA festival's feel is based on the mythical ideal of a British "local". This, I suspect, is based on Californian drinking culture (of which I have no direct experience): it seems to work nearly as well overall, but it's quite different from what I'm used to.

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