The Death Of A Beer Festival, Part Two

"All Real Ales Outside £1 a Pint".

The runt end of a too-long Bank Holiday. Outside, the beers are cool; the punters are colder. Three lads in over-optimistic shorts head inside. A few hardy wax jackets and pork pie hats stand fast by the bar. Flustered bunting scratches at slab-grey clouds.

They may run flat, but the beers are still full of flavour. Ascot Ales' Alligator has lost none of its Cascade bite. With bitter orange and soft malts, Old Slewfoot's Orange Blossom Special has a breakfast-tray tang that makes me think of warm duvets and weekend papers. Rather than drinking by the recycle bins in the mizzle.

It becomes difficult to read the screen of my phone as I type. A lazy exodus from beer garden to bar fireside begins. The lads in shorts begin bantering about warmer times. One of the old guard can't be tempted away from his Smoothflow by the offer of a cheaper pint. Someone's beer widow is confused as to how a pub can "run out" of latte.

Back outside, the bar area itself under cover, a knot of new arrivals drip onto the flagging and look warily at the bargains. I buy Barista by Summer Wine which fountains into a glass. I can almost smell the coffee in it from this side of the bar. But it's a bittersweet sight, a cask this full on the last day of a festival. I wonder why as I drain the pint slowly. I wonder more as I drain another four over the languorously overcast afternoon.

Sat on his usual stool by the back bar, Eddie says "It's madness!" I'm not sure whether he means the festival still running on the Tuesday or the Jubilee in general. My bus is due. I wobble off. Happy and glorious.