An introduction from the Festival Organiser
Welcome to the 22nd Battersea Beer Festival. I hope that the following will give you all of the information that you need but, if not, please e-mail us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click on any heading to see details:
The Battersea Grand Hall, Town Hall Road, SW11 5TN. It is behind the BAC (Battersea Arts Centre) on Lavender Hill.
See directions and a map on this website at http://batterseabeerfestival.org.uk/venue/.
Dates and Times:
The Festival is open from Wednesday 8th to Friday 10th February, from 12:00 to 23:00 each day (last orders 22:40).
£4.00 at all times except before 17:00 Wednesday when it is £3.00. There is a £1.00 discount for CAMRA members at all times, on production of a valid membership card.
The organising committee acknowledges that some CAMRA members feel that the discount allowed to them on admission prices is minimal, but this wonderful venue is appropriately expensive to hire and so our preference is to recover what we feel is a reasonable proportion of that cost from everyone who attends. That way we can keep the beer prices down and I think that most CAMRA members will find themselves benefiting from that over a session.
We operate cash bars. Payment by debit and credit card is only possible for books and clothing etc.
Sorry but we do not have the facilities to operate credit/debit card ‘tabs’ for drinks.
If you have change, please use it whenever you can.
We take £50 notes on the door and will change them at the CAMRA Shop stand but please do not use them at the bars.
Everyone – staff and customers alike – is entitled to enjoy them self.
Anyone whose idea of enjoyment is to stop others from enjoying themselves will be asked to leave.
Our staff have the same legal rights and obligations as pub licensees in this respect.
We will try to open the cloakroom in the foyer whenever we have enough staff available.
Please use it if you can, especially if you have a large back-pack.
Property is however left there entirely at the owner’s risk.
Please do not create piles of bags etc in the hall area. This would be a serious trip hazard in the event that we had to evacuate the hall.
Also, please do not wear back-packs in the hall. Apart from taking up a lot of room you can easily and accidentally knock glasses out of other customers’ hands.
Sorry but, because of the way the hall is laid out, we do not have facilities for children and entry is restricted to over 18s only.
Sorry but despite our link with the Dogs’ Home, we cannot allow customers to bring in dogs.
It is not fair on all concerned, especially when it gets crowded or people are eating.
This does not, of course, apply to guide and assistance dogs.
This is prohibited by law anywhere inside the building and our licence agreement does not allow smokers to take their drinks outside.
When taking a break, please leave your drink with friends.
Queuing and fire precautions:
For obvious reasons, we have to operate to a strict limit on numbers in the hall.
If we have had to introduce a ‘one out, one in’ routine and you have had to queue for any time, we hope that you will accordingly appreciate why that was.
Although they are unpaid volunteers, a number of our stewards are fully SIA trained and accredited.
Please take notice of any announcements or requests from our stewards. Their only aim is to keep you safe.
The committee have discussed but have decided against selling tickets in advance.
Whilst the considerable amount of additional administration work is a factor, the main reason is to do with managing the beer supply.
We would have to hold back beer to cover ticket sales.
If we under-price tickets, people may buy them but not turn up.
If we over-price them, people will not buy them in case they can’t come and will pay on the door anyway.
We think that ‘first come, first served’ is fairer to everyone overall.
We have again increased the order for beer and cider and are now cramming into the hall about as much as it will hold.
We have ordered some 180 different cask beers, selected from, as the band leader Semprini used to say, ‘old ones, new ones, loved ones, neglected ones’.
The beer list can be found on the website at http://batterseabeerfestival.org.uk/documents/BeerList2012.pdf.
We cannot put all of the beer that we have on to the stillage from the start.
You will see that many casks are on the floor below it.
They can only be racked when a space occurs, so that a beer that you particularly want may not be available immediately.
This is the only way that we can operate, so please understand our situation.
Those beers "on the floor" at the start are marked by a preceding * on the downloadable beer list.
We would advise against making long journeys just to sample one or two specific beers.
To reiterate, we simply cannot guarantee that they will be on whilst you are at the festival.
We do not hold back beer; once it is ready to go on sale – and it has to be ready because we will not compromise on quality – it goes on sale until it is sold.
Similarly, we cannot guarantee that all the beers that we have listed here will arrive but there will be substitutes of equal quality.
Despite what some say, with one generous exception, none of the beer is gifted to us.
It is all purchased from the breweries or beer agencies on normal commercial terms.
Battersea Beer Festival follows CAMRA guidelines in charging what is reasonable for the area without seriously undercutting local pubs or excessive overcharging.
Please remember that the very strong beers will now be more expensive because of the Government’s recent increase in duty on beers over 7.5% ABV.
Selection policy and LocAle:
CAMRA’s LocAle campaign is very important to us but both the Pig’s Ear Festival last December and the London Drinker Festival (7 to 9 March) heavily feature London beers and so we have spread our net more widely to bring you what we hope is the best in British real ale, mostly from small or medium sized breweries.
We are not a ‘winter ales’ or ‘dark beers’ festival; we aim for a range that will cover all tastes.
Our particular speciality is the standard ‘session’ bitter, but this year we have added a small ‘Strong Beers’ bar next to the Foreign Beer bar.
I’m sure that you will find something there to send you happily on your way.
Cider and perry:
We have a range of ciders and perries which have been carefully selected from small and medium producers.
These can be found in the Lower Hall.
They are listed on the Beer and Cider list at http://batterseabeerfestival.org.uk/documents/BeerList2012.pdf.
In line with CAMRA policy, our beers are served in oversized, lined glasses - both pint and half pint glasses are available.
This year the committee has decided not to have 1/3rd pint glasses or lines because we feel that demand for them has not been sufficient to justify the additional complications involved.
Neither will we be using the new 2/3rd pint ‘schooner’ measure.
Beer and cider/perry of the Festival:
With your glass you will find a voting form for ‘Beer of the Festival’.
Please let us know not just your favourite real ale but cider, perry and foreign beer as well.
Breweries really value these awards.
Please put your form in the box on the Glasses Stand.
As ever, we have a good range of imported beers selected by Bar Manager Peter J Sutcliffe from his wide personal knowledge.
This bar is located in the main hall.
A range of traditional English country wines can also be found in the Lower Hall.
Real Ale in a Bottle:
A range of bottle-conditioned beers can be found in the Lower Hall.
See the beer list at http://batterseabeerfestival.org.uk/documents/BeerList2012.pdf for details.
FREE soft drinks:
Free soft drinks will be available in both halls.
We appreciate that some people find that the hall gets cold but please bear with us because this is to make sure that the beer remains in the best possible condition and, after all, we are here for the beer.
Sorry but we simply cannot provide any more seating than we do without displacing some of the beer.
Don’t forget that additional seating is often available in the Lower Hall which is accessed from stairs at the stage end of the main hall on the right.
The layout of the hall does not lend itself to live music performance and, over the years, the overwhelming feedback from customers is that it is not wanted.
We are continuing our support for the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and they will be around again this year, usually in the evenings.
We do not charge for our cloakroom and so if you use it, that might be an opportunity for you to donate.
In our supposed nation of animal lovers, cats and dogs often get the rough end of any hard times.
In 2011 they looked after nearly 10,000 animals, re-homing just over 5,000, so do please support them.
This is again being provided by our old friend Kam Kamienski, whose substantial offerings, including some traditional Polish recipes, are more than welcome on a winter’s day.
Snacks are also available: please ask.
*** Please note that the seating in the servery area is reserved for diners ***
Please be aware that there is a lower hall.
It is accessed from the stairs through the last door on the right hand side of the main hall (stage end).
In the lower hall you will find:
- Additional seating
- The famous CAMRA ‘Every 1’s a Winner’ Tombola
- Pub games
- The cider and perry bar
- Country wines
- Real Ale in a Bottle
Courtesy of Ascot Ales, we are having a beer-tasting competition.
This will be on Wednesday lunchtime.
The brewery are providing us with four different versions of their Alley Cat bitter, each dry-hopped with a different hop: Amarillo, Brewer’s Gold, Cascade and Sorachi Ace.
Sorry, we can’t give the beer away but come and try a half of each and fill in the questionnaire to give the brewery some feedback.
We hope that Chris from the brewery will be joining us for the tasting session.
We are hoping that Greg Mulholland, MP for Leeds North-West and the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group will be able to join us at 19:00, formally to open the festival.
Meet the Brewer:
This year for the first time we are having some ‘meet the brewer’ sessions.
The breweries taking part are:
Sadly we don’t have the space for them to make a proper presentation but the brewers will be at the stage end of the main stillage and will be more than happy to talk to you about their products.
During the afternoon festival session, from 14:00 to 17:00 we invite many publicans from the South West London branch area to join us, along with other friends of the branch.
Pub of the Year
The highlight of the afternoon is the announcement of the result of the branch’s Pub of the Year competition.
This takes place at about 16:00.
We have invited the Mayors of the Boroughs of Lambeth, Merton and Wandsworth to join us so that the Mayor of the borough in which the winning pub is situated can make the announcement.
There is more about the competition on the branch website: camraswl.org.uk where anyone can vote in our "just for fun" online poll.
It is often said that CAMRA’s work is done.
We are currently doing well in London for small breweries, but what about pubs where it can be served?
Beer festivals are all very well but we need our local pubs.
If you have an interest in real ale and the pubs that serve it, why not join CAMRA?
You will be one of an ever-growing movement.
CAMRA membership is currently almost 135,000, up from 120,000 this time last year.
CAMRA is a not-for-profit body that is run locally and nationally by elected, unpaid volunteers and is completely independent of any commercial interest.
While we need activists, our strength is also in our numbers and, if you drink real ale in a pub, that in itself is positive campaigning.
For more information please come and see us at the Membership Stand at the front of the main hall as you enter the festival.
This event is organised and staffed entirely by volunteers, not just from South West London Branch but also most other London branches of CAMRA.
No volunteer gets paid and all funds generated are passed to CAMRA centrally to be used for campaigning.
Thanks are due to all of those who have put in a lot of hard work and have given up many hours of their free time, balancing this against family and work commitments.
This year’s Festival Committee has been:
Chris Cobbold, Mark Davies, Ellie Eames, Sue Hart (Staffing), Tony Hedger (Chair), Colin Herbert (Chief Steward), Dave Plackett (Beer Manager), Geoff Strawbridge (Secretary) and Paul Watkins (Treasurer) with help and advice from Stephen Blann, Gill Felton and Mike Flynn.
The South West London Branch of CAMRA would like to thank our sponsors and advertisers for their support for the Battersea Beer Festival, especially Sambrook’s Brewery for sponsoring our glasses.
We would also like particularly to thank Anya Tavkar and her colleagues at the Battersea Arts Centre.
We wish Anya all the best in her new job and welcome Jessica Moore as our new Events Manager at BAC.
Other London Area Festivals:
If you enjoy Battersea Beer Festival, how about visiting CAMRA’s other beer festivals in and around London:
- March: London Drinker Beer Festival – see posters around the hall
- April: Bexley
- May: Kingston; Thurrock
- June: Beckenham
- July: Ealing
- August: Great British Beer Festival – back at Olympia for 2012!
- September: Ascot
- October: Wallington; Twickenham
- November: Watford
- December: Pig’s Ear (East London)
Tony Hedger Festival Organiser and Chair of the Organising Committee
This year’s logo - see above - commemorates the earliest record of beer in South West London. In 1512, Henry VIII’s warships are recorded as having made ‘provision of beer’ at Wandsworth. This was uncovered by Helen Osborn, the historian and author who used to work for Young & Co.
The logo itself is an artistic representation of a bridge over the River Wandle which, in those days, ran largely through an area of fields and market gardens.
The Festival Glasses this year are sponsored by Battersea based brewer, Sambrook’s. We thank them for their support. They are one of three brewers hosting a meet the brewer hour on Thursday afternoon - for details see the SPECIAL EVENTS link in the Organiser's Notes above.
Please check back here regularly for all the latest Battersea Beer Festival news.