Chorlton Beer Fest

I’m amazed to find that this year’s was the sixth Chorlton beer festival; it seems like only the other year that it kicked off (as the “ZestQuest Beer Fest”). This year it was on over Friday evening and Saturday; I went on the Saturday afternoon and was a bit boggled to see that about a third of the 50-odd beers had already run out. There were plenty left, though, and I spent a very pleasant couple of hours getting thoroughly plastered. (Five halves of beer & two halves of cider, which – allowing for the strength of the ciders & some of the beers, plus over-measures and tasters – added up to the equivalent of five pints of 4% bitter. Which, I find, is plenty – I’m still recovering twenty-four hours later.)

What I’ve never liked about this festival is the pricing system: beer tickets are available in sheets of £5, made up of varying amounts (two £1s, four 50ps, etc) which the staff cross off when you buy a drink. Yesterday most ciders were £1.50 a half, but the beers ranged from £1.50 down to £1.10. Unless you plan your drinks by price – and plan carefully at that – this system creates the annoyance of leaving 50p or 60p behind at the end of the evening, as well as creating substantial pressure to drink a whole sheet’s worth of beer rather than leave a whole drink’s worth of tokens behind. (I might have stopped at six halves myself if I hadn’t had tokens to spend. Then again, I might not have.)

I can understand the organisers wanting to avoid having volunteers handle money, but it would be much less hassle, and leave a better taste, if they adopted flat pricing – say £1.25 a half, with tickets on sale in blocks of two and four. I appreciate that it’s a fund-raising event, but this would surely not make a huge dent in profits, particularly given the £4 entry fee.

Still – nice event, nice day, nice beer.

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