Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Macc Fest

This week I'll have the pleasure of working at the Macclesfield beer festival as for once in recent years it doesn't clash with a Darlo game.

The Macclesfield Charity Beer Festival (to give it it's full name) is not your normal average beer festival - it's a joint effort with the local Round Table, Macclesfield rugby club (who host the event ina marquee in their car park) and members of the local CAMRA branch.

It's through the latter that I got involved since my mate Keith was a local member and was one of those originally tasked with sorting out the beer side of things for the inaugural festival in 1994. I came along to help him look after the bar and have only missed about four festivals since then.

The event heavily features musical entertainment each night and as such it attracts a wider range of people than a normal CAMRA festival - more your average sort of weekend-town-centre-drinker in attendance - and it's a much looked forward to fixture on the Macc social calendar.

(left) Trev and Keith check ale is well

My other mate, Trevor, has taken on the role of bar manager for quite a few years now and each year sees him put together a very impressive range of beers.

And each year the vast majority of them are served in tip-top condition by a bunch of volunteer bar staff- there's always one or two barrels that don't drop or are off but they're few and far between. You'll do well to find anyone who leaves disappointed.

Looking after the beer is always fun as the weather in May can vary from one extreme to the other - in the early days things were quite primitive, some years we're struggling to keep the beer cool and other years it's too cold - incontinence pads were used to either keep the barrels warm or dampened to keep them cool.

With upwards of a thousand folk each night, it's hard work keeping them all served and happy - especially when they don't know what they want.

"What do you recommend?" is the question I hate most - almost as annoying as "Don't you do Boddies/Stones?".

(above) Everything ready - just waiting for the punters

That is why I prefer the relative calm of the Macclesfield and East Cheshire CAMRA Saturday afternoon session where it's a more familiar crowd of "individuals" along with tickers from the north-west and Yorkshire making their way. Entry is free and it's a very relaxed lunchtime session where you actually have time to talk.

If you're in the area this weekend, do drop in and say hello...

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