Rugby Beer Festival 2009

By Kevin Folwell

We're back! After several years where it appeared that things were slipping away, the 2009 Rugby Beer Festival was one of the best to date. Under the able enthusiastic influence of Mel Steele, Rugby CAMRA's secretary, this year's annual beer bash proved to be a big hit. Her enthusiasm at an early stage was very infectious and our plans started to take shape well before a glass was lifted.

The new format for this year's event began by collating peoples' ideas about where other beer festivals were succeeding. The venue was never in doubt as The Thornfield Bowls Club has been a good, secure, central location for a few years now. Dropping the entry price encouraged a few more people through the door than normal and co-ordinating the cask numbers with the programme made it far easier for customers and staff to get what they wanted quicker. Some observant drinkers may also have noticed the cooling system in place this time. Although we didn't get any seriously hot weather over the weekend this kit ensured that everything was kept at a constant temperature. This meant the beer condition was maintained over the whole festival weekend and by doing that any one ordering a drink on the Saturday evening still had a good chance of being served decent tasting ale.

Advertising was more professional this year with a big banner sited on the Hillmorton Road roundabout next to the playing field. Plenty of flyers were delivered to town centre pubs a few days before the event meaning most people were left in no doubt we were open for business.

All this planning was of no use without a beer list and our real ale 'guru' Steve Durrant (Festival Organiser) did us proud as usual with a collection of beers made up of old favourites together with plenty of new and unusual additions. It was a list I found particularly good as it contained a high percentage of 'ticks' and there was still a good variety available over the bar on Saturday evening. Well done Bluey.
Saturdays' entertainment completed a good few days for everyone and with the addition of some good food to go with the good beer and plenty of good company I'm looking forward to next years event already. Be there, you'll enjoy it.