THE revived Hucknall Beer Festival was billed as a three-day event — but it lasted less than two because it was so successful!
The festival, held at the John Godber Centre on the town’s Ogle Street, began Friday February 11 and was due to finish on Sunday February 13.
But the organisers had run out of ale by the early part of Saturday evening.
Centre manager Pete Smith said the festival — the town’s first for six years — had paid the price of its own success.
“We had anticipated a total attendance of 500 over the three days but we had turnouts of more than 400 on Friday and more than 300 during the first part of Saturday,” said Pete.
“The response was way beyond all our expectations.”
Just four of the 36 beers laid on for the festival were still available at 7 pm on Saturday. About an hour later, only Night Porter, produced by the Bollington Brewery in Cheshire, was still on offer.
The Saturday-night session was to have been the highlight, with live music by No Fixed Abode, a duo comprising a female singer and a male guitarist.
But as visitors drifted away through the lack of real ale, the duo found themselves performing to only about a dozen visitors.
The girl singer asked those who remained: “Are you drinking milk?”
The empty beer-casks meant a closer focus on cider and perry provided for the festival.
These included two ciders produced by Hucknall’s Torkard Cider, Nottinghamshire’s only cider-making firm, which is run by Ray and Gail Blockley, of Washdyke Lane.
Their ciders were Floppy Tabs and Sheep Wash, which were medium-sweet and medium-dry respectively.
The big turnouts earlier had included a visit by Hucknall’s Conservative MP Mark Spencer.
The event was combined with a farmers’ market during Friday, and the cheese stall continued during the evening, probably because this dairy product is known to go well with beer.
Other items on offer at the farmers’ market included vegetables, meats, chutney and cakes.
Local businesses and organisations staffed stalls at the farmers’ market and sponsored beers for the festival.
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and Hucknall Round Table supported the festival, while Hucknall’s Bentinck Conservative Club sponsored No Fixed Abode.
All breweries represented were from Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire, except for Bollington and Elland, of West Yorkshire.
The strongest ale was the 5.9% Grey Ghost from RAW, of Staveley, Derbyshire, which was labelled as a powerful American-hopped IPA.
One of three beers from the Dancing Duck Brewery, of Derby, was called Ay Up, while other oddly-named ales included Scratty Ratty.