The Steel City Festival: tarnished?

I think it's fair to say that the Sheffield CAMRA annual beer festival has a chequered past. Great beers have often found themselves being served in unprepossessing surroundings. Such as mud-ridden tents. Or dull social clubs. So a change of venue close to the city centre must be the right move, surely?

The jury's still out, I think. Many problems, some mitigating circumstances. But maybe not mitigating enough. Cellar quality suffered with the unseasonal weather heating the Ponds Forge sports hall to an uncomfortable level. You may not expect such temps in October. But, for instance, Nottingham CAMRA have kept things cool even when the sun comes out in the middle of the month. Glasses being marked for thirds when the measure isn't being served shouldn't have been an issue - if it wasn't for some staff selling third-pints for one token.

And apart from the extraordinary circumstances, it's still the little things that are notable by their absence. Like adequate signage to find the front door. Like a basic tasting note or style guide in the programme.When there's only fifty-ish drinkers through early doors on the first day, I wonder where the usual trollied hoards have got to.

The city has a fantastic beery heritage. Sheffield CAMRA have some enthusiastic members who know a great deal about beer. It's a shame that their festival sells them short.


  1. Forget the signage! There wasn't enough chillers and they weren't set up properly. None of the pipes were lagged. Beer temp was 21C on Saturday. Imagine if you were new to this Real Ale lark, and had just paid a tenner to get in. Tandleman would have kittens if he found out. Publicans have their low iq and ignorance to excuse them. Sheffield CAMRA, with years of experience and its general raison d'etre of improving beer quality, should be deeply ashamed.

  2. I have found out now. I have sympathy for those that have worked hard and then got unseasonal weather, but beer quality is paramount.

    Not as bad as the Cask Marque pub in London I have just grassed off. Turned out Sharps Doom Bar was 23.5C when CM investigated.

    Quality of cellarmenship and serve is something I will never be ashamed of complaining about.