main hall at Battersea Beer Festival

24th Battersea Beer Festival

Visitor Comments


Every year, after the festival, we publish on the website the comments made on the feedback forms which include the votes for the beer and/or cider/perry of the festival.

Admissions over the three days of the 2014 festival exceeded 4,400. This was 400 fewer than last year with not only the rain but also the tube strikes on the Wednesday and Thursday deterring many who would have had to cross London.

Two thirds of admissions were non-members but CAMRA members accounted for 79 of the 99 sets of comments collated below. Please Note: ALL comments are published, both good and bad.

If you didn't hand in a comments form at the Festival you can still let us know your thoughts on Battersea 2014 by using the comments form below otherwise you can just read the comments - Note: Comments in green are the festival organiser's.

If you are having problems with the Comments Form then you can link to it directly if you Click HERE.

Satisfaction, appreciation and understanding

  • Love it – Non-member
  • Very nice fest; well done – Croydon & Sutton
  • Keep up the good work! – N Hants
  • Thanks for a great beer festival, well organised, really enjoyed it – W Middx
  • Fantastic range of beer. Great venue – Surrey/Hants
  • Great festival; great beer choice; sensibly priced; good food – Non-member
  • Really enjoyed the festival, thank you all! – SE London
  • A great fest, no gimmicks, no frolics, full of real people – S Hants
  • A good festival, many thanks – Kingston & Leatherhead
  • As good as ever, one of my favourite festivals. Thanks again – Amber Valley
  • Always the first festival of the year; never disappoints – SW Essex
  • Festival great as always – Brighton & South Downs
  • A great friendly festival; always enjoy coming here – Surrey/Hants
  • I really enjoyed it. Wish to see you in the future as I am newly retired. I did originate from this area. – SE Essex
  • Best S London festival – E Surrey
  • Lovely festival – lots of dark beers – S Hants
  • The BBF is one of our favourite beer festivals: compact enough to get round; large enough to sample a goodly range of beers. Keep it up! – SW London
  • Well done; always great. Sees me through January looking forward to this. Great selection of beers – NW Kent
  • More beers on than usual and good selection – S Beds
  • Much better than last year. Beers served at correct temperature (far too cold last year). Lots of volunteers. Very little waiting time to get served. Great. Thank you – SE London
  • Great festival: good food; very well organised; helpful bar staff; great beer selection. Thank you. Always the highlight of the year in SW London – SE London
  • Shame tube strike affected this year’s numbers slightly. Thanks as ever to the splendid volunteers! +Congratulations on the 100 new beers to the BBF. Cheers! – SW London
  • Volunteers very helpful – Surrey?/SW London?
  • Keep up the great work – N Herts
  • 10th year at Battersea Beer Festival and I love it – Non-member
  • A very good beer festival, tell by my handwriting, I’ve had too many; didn’t know where the Lower Hall was but found it. Good day out. Thank you – SE Surrey
  • Congratulations on range of beers still ‘on’ on Friday afternoon; hope the Friday evening punters who traditionally queue for ages when you have almost run out are less disappointed this year – Kingston & Leatherhead
  • Well organised as per previous years (unlike Manchester last weekend: ran out of beer at 2pm and wouldn’t let in any further admissions. Piss poor!) – SE London
  • Apart from the false fire alarm, another gr8 event – Richmond & Hounslow
  • The pint at the Fox & Hounds, Trumans Emperor @ £4, was good during the fire break – Kingston & Leatherhead
  • So sorry couldn’t be there to welcome the Harveys dray – Croydon & Sutton
  • I will miss next year due to refurbishment – SE London
  • I have heard that there will be no beer festival next year; will try to do one somewhere else – SW London

More about the beers

  • BG Sips 4 Blue Monkey, Notts; Lotus IPA 4, Ilkley, W Yorks; Falls Gold 2, Tillingbourne, Surrey; Chimera IPA 3, Downton, Wiltshire; Quadhop 3, ditto; Collapse 3, Front Row, Cheshire; Commonside Pale 3, Belleville, Wandsworth; Hercules Centennial 3, Mallinson, W Yorks; Endeavour, Downton, Wiltshire.
  • Excellent to see a festival that showcases session bitters. Sadly no Boggarts Rum Porter to finish on. A comment but by no means a criticism: a few more standard amber pale ales to be able to mix with the golden ale session beers – Kingston & Leatherhead
  • Wot no Boggarts Rum Porter – Kingston & Leatherhead
  • There was some in bottles downstairs this year.
  • Gratified at the number of porters and stouts available this year. Even though a fair few were not ready for first day, there were still more than enough, for me at least! – Richmond & Hounslow
  • Might have been unlucky but the following were not available: Captain Oats Mild; Mrs Simpsons Thriller in Vanilla; Ruby Mild 3.5%; Entire Extra Stout; Black Rat 4.3%; Triple Chocoholic 4.8%. However, their substitutes were very enjoyable.
  • Too many beers, not enough room: too many on stillage but ‘not ready’. Reduce the published selection so that there is a better chance of a named beer actually being on. Plenty of racked but blank casks: I can’t believe that so many are not ready for Wednesday afternoon. A varied selection of ales: thank you; nice to see so many from the Isle of Wight – Watford
  • Thursday eve: nice range in the programme, shame most of the interesting stout/porter/olds already gone... – N Sussex
  • Too many beers not available – Brighton & South Downs (Wednesday)
  • Far too few ales available on Weds lunchtime! – Croydon & Sutton
  • I was disappointed that several beers I wanted to try were not on. There was plenty of space so why not give those of us who come on the first day the opportunity to try those beers. Why are you saving them for Thursday/Friday? Anyway I did enjoy my afternoon. Good company – Non-member
  • There seems to be little point looking up a beer in the programme because the beers do not seem to be available.
  • Too many ‘programme’ beers not on – Surrey/Hants
  • Shame that 18 beers from 3 breweries were not on!! (Black Iris, Front Row, Hop Studio) – Maidstone & Mid Kent
  • One person says ‘not enough room’ and another says ‘there was plenty of space’. The programme lists the beers we have on order that we therefore expect to be available at some stage during the course of the festival. On any day, visitors are advised to look at the cask ends to see which beers are being served. 80 cask beers were ready to serve when we opened on Wednesday. On Friday morning we started with more than 100, including all those casks that had previously been resting on the floor waiting for space on the stillage. No beer was specifically held back.
  • More dark beers please – E London & City
  • More mild please – E Surrey
  • More mild please! – Croydon & Sutton
  • Felinfoel normal bitter next year please – NW Kent
  • Why the Brakspear and Everards beers? Surely these are readily available in the Branch area. Excellent choice of (West) Yorkshire micros and Blue Monkey a personal favourite. Keep up the good work! – SW London
  • Brakspear and Everard beers are actually quite rare around Battersea.
  • Excellent; love it. Any chance of some Anchor Steam? Best lager in the world? – Non-member
  • Women like beer! Get over it! More IPAs?!! – Non-member
  • More hops +less sexist female staff please; i.e. we don’t want fruity, weak + floral, but rather good f’ing beer with flavour – Non-member

More about the food

  • Good selection of food – N Hants
  • Food is excellent (best selection and prices of all festivals attended) – Surrey/Hants
  • Overall best festival food for my taste! – Surrey/Hants
  • The food provided is excellent quality and value. Well done – Bradford
  • Pork goulash/rice for lunch: still the best quality/value I have ever come across on my visits to beer festivals – Leeds
  • Black pudding sausage: spot on – Kingston & Leatherhead
  • Food was great, lots of choice at last!! – Croydon & Sutton
  • Please don’t ever change the food. It’s great! – Surrey/Hants
  • Food was great; however, the menu should reflect what is available. There are good veggie options but these aren’t on the board – W London
  • No cheese rolls – E London & City
  • Did you ask, George? And they aren’t hard to make yourself..
  • Range of food needs to be looked at. Not enough vegetarian options.
  • No decent food, as per usual for most beer festivals. Manky mac & cheese or starve. They never appreciate that vegetarians and even vegans enjoy beer too. Would’ve stayed longer, but we’re off for a pizza now – Non-member
  • Would be great if you could get the excellent pork scratchings sold at Ealing and GBBF. Mr Porky is OK but nowhere near as good – Non-member
  • Any chance we can have a different caterer next year. I am bored with Kam’s food. I would like to see rolls, bacon baps, baguettes, sandwiches, pork pies, burgers etc. I had a sausage dog and then indigestion the rest of the afternoon. How about another caterer which doesn’t need a kitchen, say downstairs so as not to clash? Thank you – Brighton & South Downs

Third pint measures

  • No third pint measures available – Brighton & South Downs
  • Please supply 1/3 pint measures – Brighton & South Downs
  • Half pints are fine, but thirds (as available at other festivals) allow those, like myself, of limited capacity to sample more brews – Slough, Windsor & Maidenhead
  • 1/3 pins please! – W Middx
  • Please have 1/3 pints on glasses – Ely
  • 1/3 pints please! Promotes responsible drinking – SE London
  • 1/3 glasses or lines on glasses; encourages responsible drinking, especially on the ‘strong beers ’bar – W London
  • Please sell beers in 1/3rds; 10% beer in 1/2+ is not responsible drinking!! – W Middx
  • Try ‘third of a pint’ next year, so I can try some stronger beers – N Herts
  • Could you serve stronger beers in 1/3 pint measures? Seems a shame to restrict it to a half... – Surrey/Hants
  • You need to serve 1/3 pint measures to keep in place with many other festivals and to justify the (very good) idea of having a strong beers bar. ‘CAMRA promotes choice’. We need to be offered a 1/3 pint option. (After having many beers I might want to try a sample of the 10.5% ABV but I wouldn’t want even a half of it) – Watford
  • Personally, one of the best things CAMRA has done recently is to introduce 1/3rds at its festivals. You say (from your programme) ‘demand for them has not been sufficient to justify the additional complications involved’. Please take this as one ‘demand’ for thirds and no other festival appears to see it as an ‘additional complication’ Really? Apart from this one grump, thanks greatly for an excellent fest! I’ll be there next year, 1/3rds or not! Thank you! – Oxford
  • Some other London festivals have also tried serving 1/3 pints and then abandoned them. Not only is overfilling a problem that higher prices are then needed to correct, but it takes that much longer to serve the same volume of beer in thirds, so that customers wait longer at the bar and it becomes difficult to sell enough beer over the course of the festival to make the whole exercise worthwhile. Responsible drinking means taking longer to drink the stronger beers. We price them accordingly and sell those over 8% ABV only in halves. You could share a half with a like-minded friend if you wanted to sample more of them.

Signage and information

  • No menu/price list for food. Entry/entrance signs of food area doors not visible with doors open – Chelmsford & Mid-Essex
  • The menu and prices displays were delayed on Wednesday; serving food was the priority.
  • Food stall: no prices displayed or menu; is this not a legal requirement? – SE Essex
  • The law is no longer straightforward. Misleading omission is an offence under the 2008 Consumer Protection (Unfair Trading) Regulation; if consumers find prices to be reasonable, the failure to display them is not actionable.
  • The cask labels need to be colour coded the same as in the programme – Enfield & Barnet
  • Colours of barrel labels particularly mild wee not easy to differentiate from bitters – Chelmsford & Mid-Essex
  • Signage of types of beer is poor: light colour for milds very hard to see. Does orange/yellow paper not exist in London? – SE Essex
  • Don’t forget to put ABVs on ales and ciders on website (and in programme for ciders and perries) – Brighton & South Downs
  • I have been a CAMRA member and real cider (only) drinker for last 3 years. I’m fed up with cider being an afterthought in the programmes. No information or ABV included, unable to properly list, tick and keep programme/drinks tried like the full ale list you provide!!! Disappointed festival goer – SE Essex
  • You say that you come every year. Thank you for drinking our ciders. Our festival has always been advertised simply as the Battersea Beer Festival and space in the programme is limited.
  • Embarrassing signage! Walked up from Clapham junction and, where last year there was clear instructions to queue from the back of the building, there was none today. After queuing half an hour up the hill, we were told we were queuing in the wrong direction and had to join another queue (50 strong) down the hill. Then, when close to the door (in the rain), we were made to queue single file. Why? What for? Stupid red tape and petty officials! Shame on CAMRA!! – Hull
  • Sorry, what a disaster! Last year, exceptionally, owing to building works at the front, BAC required festival goers to queue up the hill from the back. This year things were back to normal with our big sign prominently displayed from the railings at the top of Town Hall Road which, going down Theatre Street, you had of course missed. We ask visitors to queue in single file in order not to block the exit for those leaving the hall at any time.

Cost considerations

  • Why is it so expensive to get in? – Richmond & Hounslow
  • With craft pubs like the Holborn Whippet, Euston Tap, Craft Beer Co and Pelt Trader plus larger Wetherspoons (Crosse Keys) and brewpubs (Black Horse/Barnet Brewery) you need to reduce the prices at beer festivals. It doesn’t cost anything to get into those pubs. Perhaps reduced attendance wasn’t because of the tube strike. I will check to see how expensive this festival is next year before deciding whether to turn up – S Herts
  • Our admission charges were the same as last year’s and are intended as far as possible to cover the substantial cost of hiring the halls. This is something pubs can factor in 52 weeks a year; not so a one-off event. You can save your fare next year. Owing to a welcome major refurbishment, there will be no Battersea Beer Festival at BAC in 2015.
  • As it gets quite crowded in the main hall, why not make more use of the Lower Hall by putting the foreign and strong beers down there with the ciders? It would be nice if there was a way to take the pressure off the main bars. Also I am a porter drinker and, many years ago, all the dark beers were put together on one bar at the top of the hall. This worked really well as there was no congestion in the top corner and I didn’t have to go on a wild goose chase to find one. – W London
  • Thank you for these suggestions.
  • 1. Other regular booked events in the Lower Hall as well as cost factors have meant we have never had access downstairs in time to set up cask beers on stillage in readiness for the festival.
  • 2. Such is the popularity of dark beers nowadays that a single dark beers bar could result in considerably more congestion.
  • Why ain’t you open on Saturdays?!!
  • Subject to volunteers being available what about a four-day event, i.e. Tuesday or Saturday? – Non-member
  • It is also subject to the extra cost of hiring the hall for either set-up or take-down on a Sunday.

Specific complaints and comments

  • Strongly disagree with your laissez faire policy on e-cigarettes: they contain nicotine which is a toxin. I do not wish to inhale this from other people any more than I wish to inhale vehicle exhaust in the street. The latter you have no control of; the former you do. Fraternally – SW London
  • As usual, too many rules and regulations can lead to problems and misunderstandings which, together with an overzealous application, can lead to an unnecessary nightmare. Priority seating for those of us who, while not particularly disabled, may be feeling the ravages of time.
  • Wash points to wash out glasses – W London
  • Should introduce a white line in front of bars to keep clear access for purchasers only – Surrey/Hants
  • Friday 6pm ish I couldn’t get served at the foreign beers bar; people getting served out of turn. It could have been my last beer but I gave up – SE London
  • Had they possibly sensed that you’d already had enough?
  • Please bring back fruit wines! – Non-member
  • Please bring back the fruit wines! – SW London
  • In recent years it proved impossible to buy these for sale or return, and they tended to sell significantly only when the cider and perry had run out. We had plenty of cider and perry left this year.
  • And another thing: £1.30 for a paltry swing at some skittles?! Boring. Wish I’d just put it into the B Dogs & Cats charity bin.
  • Felt a nice black bitch Staffie today (nice home!) – SE Surrey (Thursday)
  • Lack of real hounds disappointing – Non-member (Wednesday)
  • The T shirt for the 22nd Battersea Beer Festival was great: would like more like that – Surrey?/SW London?
  • Pretty much the exact same 'welcome' article as last year, Tony, which proves a sweeping disregard to these comment slips – no 1/3 pint; no heat (although every year it’s mentioned). Luckily 2014 is quite mild but I don’t accept that there is no heating to preserve the beer. How come every other festival manages it? This has been mentioned by many for years. Please don’t just ‘cut + paste’ the same intro to the programme next year – Watford
  • Thank you at least for reading it. It is carefully reviewed and refreshed every year. Most people would probably accept that beers served at beer festivals should be kept as close to ‘cellar temperature’ as possible.
  • The experience reminds me that if it weren’t for a good friend wanting to come to this I would steer clear of these. Trying to find a quiet, comfortable place to sit, talk and enjoy beer? Not at a beer festival! – W London
  • Look on the bright side: at least there was no music. And we did feature in the programme a choice of 15 local pubs from which to choose the kind of place you like.
  • Beer is the providence of all of humankind, NOT JUST MEN. Leave the ‘Darling’s and ‘Love’s at the door, CAMRA.

Challenges to CAMRA

  • You are a dying breed. Men who oppose the evolution of good beer because of terms of reference written in another age – W Middx
  • I believe that CAMRA’s conservatism has set itself up for eventual doom. Embrace good beer. The enemy of old is vanquished; rejoice in your victory.
  • CAMRA IS GOOD AT: Not lager; fighting the war against large breweries; 1970-2000; old; conserving mild; inclusive pricing. CAMRA IS NOT GOOD AT: craft beer; women; pushing IPA; today; providing what people want once the threat subsides; off-licences; interest in pricier offerings – Non-member.
  • You need to include the amazing craft beers that are being made in London (40+ breweries). The conservatism of CAMRA is now negative to the emergence of good beer in the UK! – Non-member
  • Please excuse some of the more exuberant commentary you may see here. I agree that CAMRA is a conservative movement that may seem irrelevant to younger generations, but clearly this must be balanced with the rapid rate of change in the Great Beer World, which tends to do a god job of appealing to and generating interest among younger drinkers. At worst, the BBF can do a better job of inviting London’s independent brewers into the fold. This was once a key focus of the festival which seems to have lesser importance now that London is not uniquely threatened. However, CAMRA must find a way to bring younger drinkers to their festivals lest a new divide form another barrier to good beer for all. Love, Tristan.

BAC refurbishment and forward planning

  • This venue is starting to go downhill. Hall looks a shambles now. No hot water in Gents, hand driers don’t work properly – Non-member
  • Ladies toilets a problem as they do not always flush – SE Essex
  • Tell BAC to make hall accessible without having to use the road – a particular issue for wheelchair users – SW London
  • Why oh why is it still held @ BAC? There are other places as big and effective, it’s getting worse and worse, re. the setting, beer quality and queuing due to scares. Change the venue. – SW London
  • How about Clapham Grand next year?

And finally....

  • WB: Tony Hedger ate my hamster – Maidstone & Mid Kent
  • Please note: exit signs are on the way out! – Kingston & Leatherhead

Recent Battersea Beer Festivals

Select a year from the list:
2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010.