Thoughts and musings on beer, pubs, the on and off trade.
Friday, 30 July 2010
8 Weeks and Counting
The marquee went up without a hitch, thankfully noticing the canvas was upside down before the mammoth task of pulling it over the frame. I should add that we've now put the sides on the far side and either end, and it's looking good. The lights have been ordered, and the next stage is to get the stillages built.
I'm thinking good old scaffold bars will do the job, but seeing as after the festival we'll have a marquee, bar and stillage for ale, we'll be advertising an outdoor bar service, specialising in real ale but I've also got a flash cooler with a few taps. With this in mind it's going to have to look a little neater. As for the bar itself, we'll probably use scaffolding boards (those thick wooden planks) on top of a metal frame, then staple something on top to make it look like a bar.
A ladies tasting session with Melissa Cole. We're certainly seeing more ladies drinking the real ales, especially since introducing the Wye Valley stemmed half pint glass and the Marston's conical third pint glass. Sadly for the festival we'll only have the branded festival pint glass, but marked at a third and a half.
The difficulty of conveying taste with Zak Avery. I certainly struggle to describe flavours in beer at times, and seeing the poncy description on wines really turned me off wine (I just buy the 2nd cheapest, but wine tasting with Marstons has helped a bit). So I'm looking forward to this, not just to improve my own knowledge but I enjoy bringing customers with us in what we do. I'd love to think that the festival can get people thinking about ale in different ways, trying new things and so on.
Something with Pete Brown. Details are still being worked on, I was hoping something with IPAs would work because if you want to hear someone talk about IPAs you want it to be a man who took 3 months taking one to India the old fashioned way. Wales doesn't appear to do many IPAs, unless I'm looking in the wrong direction. Barley wines all over the place, but I've only found 1 IPA so far.
Beer and Food matching evening with Melissa Cole. I've never been, done, or even thought about one of these before. But the function room has been booked, and now the beer list is nearly complete we should soon have an idea which foods are being matched. I'm extremely nervous about this because until we find a chef who doesn't need accommodation I'm running the kitchen alongside the bar and now festival. I have a feeling Saturday night I'll be in 3 or 4 different places at once.
Mike Jenkins reads some of his work. Mike has written some prose but is well known for his excellent poetry, not least as Cardiff City's unofficial poet. He'll be reading some of his work and then chatting about poetry in an informal workshop.
Reading and book signing with David Lunt. It was David who gave me the idea of developing the Literature side of the festival. He has recently been published and will be giving a reading followed by talking about getting published and recounting his recent experiences.
An Interview with Buster Grant. Buster is the Chairman of the Association of Welsh Independent Brewers as well as brewer at Breconshire Brewery. It was talking with him whilst down at the GWBCF that the thought of a specific Welsh beer festival first formed. He'll be talking about the history of brewing in Wales and what the future may have in store for us.
Meet the Brewers. Whilst I'm still waiting to confirm when most of the brewers will be arriving, I've invited every brewer who has a beer on the bar to come down and mingle, talk about beer and generally get in the way. So far the gents from Otley will be down, as will Breconshire, Rotters, Tudor and Kingstone.
If anybody would like to get involved in the festival, I'm now working out staffing needs. Volenteers are more than welcome - get in touch with me and I'll give details. It will definitely include beer and assorted pig bits each morning.