Friday 22 November 2019

Woking Beer Festival 2019

Shortly before attending this year's Woking Beer Festival I had the misfortune to waste five minutes of my life reading an article moaning on about CAMRA, their festivals, and the state of real ale in general: "the beers too warm, the people are too old, cask is doomed, blah, blah, blah".  I'm not going to link to the article but if you have an excess amount of life and want to waste some I think it was in the Brewer's Journal.

With what seemed to me to be rather dated and inaccurate whinging fresh in my mind I was curious to see what the event was like and who turned up to it.

Sure enough, the casks had proper cooling on them, as they've done for some time. I could be wrong on this but I thought it was CAMRA policy now. As to who attended I was delighted when without any prompting from me one of my friend piped up that there were more women and young people than there used to be. Which agrees with my thoughts about what I've seen at CAMRA festivals in recent years.

This is all anecdotal evidence of course, but it's not the first time I've read things about cask beer that just don't fit with what I'm seeing. Perhaps Woking is out on a limb as a cask stronghold? We do have the Champion Pub of Surrey after all. And come to think of it we had an American style brewpub serving beer from tanks years ago so we must be the cutting edge of craft too. Yes, there you have it: Woking, the beer capital of Britain, pizzas fit for princes, prone to destruction by martian invaders.

One thing that does concern me about the festival though is the number of volunteers was worryingly low, and not many of them are spring chickens. I didn't do my usual Friday session this year as I was at a work do. I might have to miss out on going as a punter and volunteer for the Saturday next year if there's another clash.

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