I know, this was weeks ago, I’m a terrible blogger. Yes, this is my musings on what happened on Saturday 6th October, the main gist of which was to go to the Bedford Beer Festival. Bedford’s was the first beer festival that I ever went to and so it’s from their example I base my opinion of all other events. Organised every year by North Beds CAMRA, the event is now in its 35th year.

OK, so you know that earlier in the week me and Jay had been on a mini tour of Bedford trying to find cask marque pubs. We were also joined by Daz and Jonny for the festival. We thought though, that we’d show them some of our favourite newly found pubs on the way first. This meant a quick stop in The Foresters Arms to see if they had received their cask marque in the post yet. They hadn’t.

We then moved on to The Wellington Arms, where Jay was very disappointed to find that they didn’t have any Fruit Bat, which was, for him at least, half the reason we went back there. Everyone approved of the pub. I particualrly like the sign on the outside of “The Wellie” as it is called by the locals.

The third pub we went to was The Cricketers. We had tried to get in here earlier in the week but couldn’t because it was shut. I since did my research and found it’s only open during the day if there is a rugby match on, which there was. I had also found that because it was cask ale week we could print off a free pint voucher from the cask marque website. While we were in here we talked to the landlord. He was telling us that he no longer gets a cask marque because he feels that they do not do enough to warrant the money he would have to pay.

Free pint down and we headed for the beer festival. Bedford is quite a large festival. It takes up the entire of the Corn Exchange, including the upstairs bar and balcony area. In total this year they had 110 real ales, 44 ciders as well as a foriegn beer bar. On top of that all the usual games, tombola, food, live music and book sale that you usually expect at a CAMRA organised event. The bumpf recon that over the weekend 18,000 pints will be consumed. That’s quite a lot.

So how was it? Well I always enjoy these sort of things. This year was no exception. I didn’t have any beers that I didn’t like. The food was good, if a little over priced and everyone was friendly, which is always nice. Later on, when the band came on everyone was having a great time, which really set the mood for the rest of the evening. For me the stand-out beers of the evening were T’owd Navigation, Nightwatch Porter, and Rampart.

Every year we go to Bedford beer festival and there is always something which happens which makes that year stand out from all of the others. Sometimes it’s meeting someone you weren’t expecting, other years its lesbians being over friendly with each other on the bar. This year it was a grumpy old man throwing my salad over the table. It was very funny.

After we left we had one more drink in town before making our way back to the train station. We missed the last train and had to get an extortionate taxi. All in all, fun times though.