15th Bexley Beer Festival - 2022

Having to cancel our 15th festival (scheduled for May 2020) in March 2020 when Covid 19 was rife, was quite a blow after spending several months planning the thing. But two years later it happened!
As you may have noticed, the glasses were the 2020 ones celebrating the 75th Anniversary of VE day that had already been printed. It was decided to use these and still festoon the t-shirts with the same logo, having the final zero crossed out and replaced with a two.
This was our 15th Bexley Beer Festival, and the 8th held at Dartfordians Community Sports Club in Bexley, lasting two and a half days (opening Thursday at 2pm) and with 96 different beers, plus an extra 3 racked bright beers (cask-conditioned beer that has dropped bright at the brewery and then racked into a new container) added on Saturday and 27 Ciders and 3 Perrys available for the customers to drink.
We had an excellent attendance of good natured, Beer/Cider/Perry drinkers who, when we closed at 8pm on the Saturday, had drunk all the beer, a total of 99 firkins and most of the Cider/Perry. Thanks for all your kind comments as we do try to run a festival with a relaxed atmosphere. Attendance was slightly down on 2019, 1472 against 1733 (-261), with 670 CAMRA members, 785 non-CAMRA and 17 under 26 attending.
Beer of the festival, by customer vote, was Bexley's Cherry Brandy Stout; the clear winner (#13 in the programme); with Beerblefish Brewery's Viking Ale (#7) in second place, Ainsty Brewery's Cool Citra and Hive
Mind 's (Wye Valley Meadery) Honey IPA joint third. Cider/Perry was a tie between Turners Apple Pie Cider(#P), and Perry Cider's Barn Owl {#M), followed by another tie between Gwatkin Squeal Pig Perry (#G) and Seacider White Peach (#N). Thank you to all who voted. Our top four of the casks to run out in order was 1st Ainsty Cool Citra (#1), followed by the Bexley Cherry Brandy Stout (#13), Mutineer's Filibuster (#53), and fourth The Broken Drum's Errol The Dragon (#23). The first Cider/Perry to run out was Turners Apple Pie (luckily we had a second to keep everyone happy). Our dark beer selection had 8 Milds, 8 Porters and 9 Stouts.
Our grateful thanks go to everyone who supported and sponsored us: Westerham and Bexley Breweries for the glasses, the staff and customers, t-shirts via Smart T's and Macaulay Scott of Welling for the card flyers and all our printing needs. All the breweries and wholesalers who supplied the liquid refreshments that was enjoyed by all. Keith Holbrook (Club Steward) in his last days at the Club & Megan, his replacement, and all others associated with the Club who helped us. The Bexley Club of the Year award was presented at the festival on Saturday by our beloved Chairman Roland Amos to Megan.
Our chosen charity this year was Cancer Research UK, in memory of Helen Wright who passed away in July 2019. Helen was a well known face in CAMRA circles, spending many years with Gravesend and Darent Valley Branch in a variety of roles, before crossing the border into Bexley and being a really active member, most notably as Membership Secretary. Always doing an excellent job in whichever role she took on, she was also a stalwart at Gravesend, Bexley and The Great British Beer Festivals. The customers were extremely generous with their donations, topped up by the volunteers to raise 1000. We thank Ian for the photo that appeared in the programme and on posters around the site.
Thanks to Kieran for allowing the festival to trial a Real Ale Finder App (RAF), available via both website and App, each having various features, not all shared. All beers were listed on the App, with the number of the beer, a picture of the pump clip, plus a few details about each beer taken from the programme. When a beer sold out, it could be deleted. This was particularly useful on Saturday when the programmes ran out, as customers could just scan the QR code at the bar.
This festival was organised and staffed by CAMRA volunteers from Bexley and beyond, who give up their free time to make it such an enjoyable event; indeed without whom the festival would not exist. Good to see some more newcomers helping out for long sessions; well done to Keith, Brian, and Jonathan.
Special thanks has to go to our Door/Glasses/Tokens Manager Alan Bartlett, who also sorted out all the advance staffing issues. Compliments to our new Staffing Officer at the festival Brian, our Site Manager Pat, fifteen years and counting, Martin our treasurer for his second Festival (and his P.A. Sandy in an oversized t-shirt, again). Joe and Rob who did the cooling. Paul Turner who commanded the Cider/Perry bar using his vast knowledge and experience to assist the less knowledgeable in their quest to learn more about other ways to enjoy the apple and the pear.
Thanks to everyone who helped during set-up, worked during opening hours or take down; whatever your role in making Bexley a success we appreciate and applaud you. And so to Andy Wheeler, proprietor of the Broken Drum Micropub and Broken Drum Brewery, who is the organiser of the event and spends hours slaving away in front of a computer to complete the essential paperwork necessary to bring the festival to life (this year even more H&S work).
Glad you all enjoyed it; please do come again next year; 5th - 7th May 2023 (subject to confirmation) .
Peter Trout

And, thanks of course, to Peter for the beer selection (without which, the festival would not be a success!)
Alan, Beer Festival Staff Manager

2020 beer festival logo.jpg

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