If you’ve ever visited The Grove Inn, Back Row, Leeds 11, you’ll know the inner sanctum, the little room opposite the corridor bar, is quite a cosy intimate space, totally unsuited to accommodating fourteen grown adults all at the same time. Because of this it took me a good five minutes to discern the source of the voice in the corner that kept shouting, ‘None!’ Every time mention was made of the number of key keg ales there should be at Leeds Beer Festival .
It sort of appeared to be coming from the direction of a Wychwood Hobgoblin t-shirt. Anyway, by the time I made eye contact with him, his chant had increased slightly to, ‘One, we’ll just have one!’
Now, I don’t know if he was laughing at his own belligerence, or the fact that I had just volunteered to supervise the set up and training of volunteer bar staff in the dispense and management of key keg products at the forthcoming Leeds CAMRA Beer Festival (17th to 19th March). I’ve seen key kegs at other festivals and it can’t be that difficult can it? Certainly not as difficult as the negotiation between the Leeds Beer Festival organising team on the number of key keg beers. There was even an insistence that the 30L kegs shouldn’t be allowed unless they could be converted into Imperial measures! I’ve never seen as many stereotypical parodies of beer lovers all sat in one place at the same time and they were loving it. I even got bollocked before the meeting started about my semi-heretical views on ACV’s by some chavver with a beard that would have out done Gandalf and Saruman put together. Anyway, end result, there will be about 12 – 14 key keg, real ales, in accordance with CAMRA’s motion on the issue, along with the 150 other real ales on offer.
At times you wondered whether anything was going to get done and how many times you could go round in circles in such a tightly packed little room. Some really important things did come out though, stuff like making sure the volunteer staff on the cider bar know that quite a lot of the traditional ciders are meant to be cloudy.
It soon became very obvious, despite other important concerns, like the length of the bar, where the Tombola was going to be situated and the colour of the t-shirts, there was a real passion and dedication towards putting on what is one of the biggest real ale festivals in the country. Remember, these people are all volunteers, committed to putting on a showcase event for CAMRA members and the responsible drinking public at large, so come along and support them. I’ve stuck the promotional poster on as large as I can for your own benefit and wider circulation.
Funniest bit? ‘Any specific requests for the Global and bottled beer bar?’
Reply? ‘Weirdbeard!’ Now you’ll never guess where that shout came from?
Please note, no CAMRA members have been harmed by the writing of this article and any piss taking, or artistic licence has been agreed upon and is entirely for the benefit of self publicity. All names and identities have been withheld to protect the innocent, apart from the guy with the beard. Just make sure you get the date into your diary now.