50,000 pints downed at Reading Beer and Cider festivalBy Mike Pyle
May 09, 2012
Damp weather and blocked loos failed to stop more beer lovers than ever before having an ‘ale’ of a time at the Reading Beer and Cider Festival over the bank holiday weekend.
More than 15,200 people drank almost 50,000 pints of ale over the five-day event at King’s Meadow, despite a problem with the drains on Saturday meaning organisers had to stop people getting in for around an hour while drainage workers saved the day.
The festival attracted around 800 more people than last year.
Festival spokesman Phil Gill said: “It’s really nice to be part of a team that puts together an event that so many people enjoy.
“We were really pleased that it didn’t rain very much – obviously we’d seen the weather forecasts but we were very lucky in the end.
“A highlight for me was being involved in the LocAle of the festival judging. It was for beers made within 30 miles of the site and we had around 35 breweries involved. The standard was so good – it goes to show we have some great breweries and beers around here.”
Although the rain held off for most of the weekend, high water levels meant the drains underneath some of the portable toilets got blocked, leading organisers to suspend entry to the event while the problem was fixed.
Mr Gill added: “Blocked drains aren’t helpful when people are drinking lots of beer on the site!
“Obviously when you plan an event like this you have to plan the toilets for the number of visitors you’re expecting on the site.
“When the toilets were reduced it meant we had to reduce the number of people on the site and had to suspend entry.
“The workers came out and did a grand job, though. They fixed it quickly – the person who did it saved the beer festival, really.”
The festival included the CAMRA National Cider and Perry Awards.
The LocAle of the festival prize went to Tring Brewery’s Blonde, which impressed judges with its citrus tang and hoppy aroma. Second and third went to Emperor Penguin from Ascot Ales and Longdog’s Lamplight Porter, respectively.
There was also recognition for Pride of Reading award-winner Loddon Brewery, based in Dunsden Green, which took third prize in the best bitters category for Ferryman's Gold and second prize in the premium bitters category for Bamboozle.
Reading-based micro-brewery Zero Degrees took third place in the speciality beers category for its Belgian-style wheat beer.
The National Cider of the Year prize went to Farmhouse by Cornish Orchards while the National Perry of the Year Prize went to Hertfordshire-based Gwatkin’s Blakeney Red SV.