Another year passes and so it is back to the South East London CAMRA Beer Festival held for the third year at Charlton Park RFC in Kidbrooke. Your Radicals attend many of the beer festivals in the London area (and sometimes even venture further) but the local one has become a firm favourite. Excellent location – as always well signposted from Kidbrooke station – and well organised.
The festival appears to be getting more popular as a few beers had gone by the time The Revolt arrived on Saturday lunchtime. Well, one Radical arrived at the allowed time but as always things did not quite go to plan with the other Radical arriving late after taking a rather circuitous route from Shooters Hill Road. Still, that allowed a cheeky primer half and recon of the venue. Avoiding the temptation of settling in the club bar to watch the cricket your Radical selected the Bexley May Place Spring (6.5, 7.5*) and sat in one of many chairs outside (is ‘on the terrace’ too fancy?). As the sun broke through your Radical remarked to himself (other Radical still AWOL) that this was indeed the life. After much nursing of the half ** word came through that your other correspondent had found someone in a festival t-shirt to follow and not too much time passed before he arrived.
*For the uninitiated The Revolt operates a simple scoring system of 0-10. 0 being a very bad pint, 5 is okay, nothing fantastic but not poor, 6-7 are decent beers, 8-9 denotes excellent. A 10 is unheard of (we assume the scorer would be rather tired and emotional to give such a score). The system as been criticised in the past as most scores fall between 5 and 8. We remain committed to it and newcomers are quickly initiated over several halves and a few “Are you sure?” comments and raised eyebrows until they start scoring properly in the 5-8 window. The scores listed are those given by each Radical. Where we both had the same beer there are two scores. I don’t see what the problem with the scoring system is.
**Always select the pint glass option but in order to be able to try many beers good beer festival etiquette is to get half pints. This also prevents one from getting too sozzled.
Next up was Brew Buddies Best (6.5) and George’s Buddy (6.5) and a contemplation of the scene across the sports fields to Shooters Hill. All jolly green and pleasant and the cricket was going very well too. On to the Brockley Red (7), Caveman Neolithic (6.5), Clarkshaws Pheonix Rising (6) and Strange Brew (4), Godstone Ponytail (6), Hop Stuff Renegade (7.5)… Okay, you get the picture and we had several more halves as the afternoon progressed. By the time we were halfway through the beer list all the seating outside was taken and a few families had positioned themselves on the grass. At that point there must have have been 60 people outside and a few more inside. With the numbers the beer started to run out, as is to be expected on the last day of a beer festival, but the Revolt was not disappointed by the 14 beers sampled.
And the winners I hear you ask? Well, one Radical scored the Peerless Gold an 8, and the highest from this Radical was a tie on 7.5 between the Hop Stuff Renegade and Kissingate Powder Blue.
These festivals are organised and staffed by volunteers and so our thanks must go to Festival Coordinator Anna and all the volunteers.
Regulars will know The Revolt has wide tastes and to balance the beer out we made our way down to the village and popped in to Le Bouchon to reflect on a fine afternoon.