Saturday, 8 September 2012


It was good to see Burnley having its first beer festival. And from what I saw on two visits to the event, is that it will become a regular and very popular fixture, in the beer festival calender.
The event was excellently organised by the East Lancs branch of CAMRA, and took place at the Burnley Mechanics. An ideal venue, close to the centre of town, and only five minutes to the local bus and train station.
The main hall was spacious, and there was a large,comfy seating area, away from the festival area.
There was an excellent selection of beers. Around 100 to choose from. Beers to suite all palates, and a wide range of strengths. The Orkney 'Skull Splitter' being the strongest at the festival, at a whopping 8.5%. A dark, rich, fruity ale, with hints of spice. And it was selling fast, at a very reasonable £2.80 a pint!
What was pleasing to witness at the event, was the wide age range you now see at these festivals. Not too long ago it was mostly old, male geezers, with beer bellies and beards. However, that is now rapidly changing, and the festival had lots of younger people, and certainly more female visitors, here to sample the fine real ales on offer. 
Real Ale is appealing to more female drinkers.  
A group of ladies at this type of event, is very pleasing to see, as it only confirms that real ale is appealing to a much wider audience. 
This has to be a very positive sign. And it was no surprise to hear that real ale production had increased by 6% last year. Not bad in an economic recession.
People start arriving at the opening of the festival 
Of course, a festival in its first year will learn many things.Ways to improve. And to make itself even more attractive in its second year. Mind you, from what I have witnessed in its debut appearance, the Burnley festival will go from strength to strength.
Real ale most certainly is a growth industry. And the popularity of beer festivals, continues a pace. Long may it continue. :-)