We booked our tickets for Chester Charity Beer Festival ready for Saturday night. I’d not attended this beer festival before, and I was excited to see it was so popular and tickets were selling fast. Along with our £10 ticket we got, on arrival, a glass and a booklet that contained a list and description of each drink, to help you choose and make notes. For those with iPhones there was even an app available – great idea. Even better there was a free bus available there and back picking us up a Chester train station. Not only was the bus really handy as the venue (Chester RUFC) was out in Littleton, but it was a great way of getting into the spirit of the evening ahead.
The festival itself was in a large temporary building with rows of barrels either side. A card allowing you to buy 4 halves was £5 so great value especially when you consider the quality and range available. I really enjoyed choosing my beers from the extensive list. Ciders, perries and wine were available too which added to the community feel of the event as there was something to suit everyone’s taste, so you didn’t have to be a connoisseur of ales to enjoy the night. There were over 130 beers, ciders and perries available to choose from much of which were local or regional. There was also a food stand put on by Hickory’s Smoke House, with really reasonably priced food including a veggie option. Food and drink-wise I don’t think I could have asked for more. I stuck with the beers and tried a good range, all of which were tasty and interesting, my favorite was Liverpool Craft’s Hop Beast, as it was so rich but not overwhelming. That said I would have happily drank more of any I tried (within reason of course!) I ranged between carefully picking from the booklet based on their description and randomly pointing at a barrel with a funny name on it, with equal success.
There was a friendly community vibe to the whole thing from staff to punters and it was good knowing that it being a charity event, our fun evening was doing a bit of good too. Alongside the drinks and food were a number of bands, which were upbeat and popular with the crowd (there was even crowd-surfing at one point and without it ever feeling rowdy!) I must admit at an event that features quality local produce I would have liked the music to be original, and not covers bands. I think that would have suited the overall ethos better.
A little free bus journey home and it was all over for it’s 26th year and may it long continue. Cheers Chester Charity Beer Festival, see you next year!