I’ve never been to Peterborough Beer Festival before and it’s been an event that I’ve been excited to try and visit. It’s an annual event operated by CAMRA and held on the week running up to the August Bank Holiday and takes place in marquees on the Peterborough Embankment.
Emma, the owner of Boudicca Brewery, escorted me to the event as it’s important that there’s a supervisory adult when I attend these things. There are two large marquees, one with music and this one with all the beer. I paid an entrance fee of £1, which is the reduced amount for CAMRA members. Like a child, I was genuinely excited at this stage and was scouring the free programme to see what beers would excite and delight me.
The second stage and I was privately quite pleased there was no lunchtime music. I like a bit of peace…..
Inevitably my first port of call.
I don’t keep festival glasses any more as I can’t cope with any more of the things, but it’s a clean design.
They think that they have the longest continuous bar of any beer festival in the country, with this one coming in at 105 metres. There’s not a huge amount of seating available outside, but they do their best and there’s of course plenty of grass to sit on outside.
Some of the beers racked up.
I was pleased to get a behind the scenes invite and that’s how they’re cooling the beers, lots of ice bags. It always add something to any event to be able to see how they’re running things and everything seemed organised and in control.
They then pull the barrels forwards when one runs out. That’s the end of my technical explanation of how they look after the beer, but I will say everything was all well kept and at the appropriate temperature.
This was all whetting my appetite for the Norwich Beer Festival at the end of October, where I’m volunteering all week.
There was a lovely atmosphere at the festival with a large amount of outdoor space. There’s the beautiful Peterborough Cathedral in the background.
I spent some considerable time working out the food options and in the end, Emma and I went for the same food stall. She went for beef in black bean sauce, I went for the old reliable chicken in black bean sauce. It cost £10, but the rice element was filling and the chicken was tender and flavoursome, so I was happy with the whole arrangement. It was also rather lovely to catch up with some of the CAMRA members from Norwich, some of whom were attending all week.
Back on the customer side of the bar. Excluding Boudicca, which is obviously the best brewery at the beer festival, my favourite beers of the day were Tonkoko (Brew York), Bakewell Tart Stout (North Riding Brewery), Blood Orange Pale (Three Acre Brewery), BlaX Forest Stout (Xtreme Ales), 1837 Double Brown Stout (Ridgeside Brewery), Haast’s Eagle (Brew York) and the best of the lot was the Chocolate Old Peculier from Theakston. As can be guessed from how many beers I’ve just listed, I certainly had a good attempt at trying a range of different styles from numerous breweries. I was impressed at how far some of these beers had come from, it’s not just a festival for local brewers.
There are a number of rides which are just ideal for those who have had too much to drink….
Emma looking excitedly at a dog.
Look at how much space they have for their glasses! I’m jealous, as we’re rather more restricted at Norwich Beer Festival. Although, we are in the historic St. Andrew’s Hall which is hardly a hardship. It won’t be a surprise to anyone for me to write this, but the volunteers were all helpful and enthusiastic. There were plenty of suggestions for different beers, lots of conversation and all the hard work that the volunteers put in was very much appreciated. The prices for the beers were also reasonable, with customers being able to pay at the bar using either cash or card.
All told, I had a rather lovely day, with Emma and I having some time to visit some pubs in the town and there was even an run for the last train (that’s a long story but Emma will calm down soon about the amount of running she had to do). I was hoping to be able to go a second time in the week, but couldn’t tempt anyone else to go, as there were some beers I left untried and some pubs I didn’t get chance to visit in Peterborough. But there’s always next year!