Forever Bury is the name of the fans group dedicated to raising funds for the Bury FC-the mighty Shakers. There are various initiatives-car boots and the like. However, one of the main ones is an annual beer festival. Hence I found myself at Gigg Lane Social Club, tokens and glass in hand, waiting eagerly for that first drink of the day. Getting in for 1230 ensured a choice of seats-ideally as far away as the forthcoming entertainment as possible. Although this did make the football scores hard to read, thereby reminding us that life isn’t all beer and marmite.
A glass of Iceni Pilot 4% (light, but diacytol tang) and the descent into drunken excess had begun. Sooner or later, all the local drunks, sorry real ale connoisseurs, made an appearance. There was Plating John, Eddie, the eager, legal, beagle, the Whitefield Holts Bandit, Pythagoras and even Mr & Mrs Metrolink made an appearance. Jolly Brewer’s Jonathon’s Lager 4.5% was light and pleasant, whilst their Dusky Maiden 6.7% was an interesting attempt at a German dark lager, although I would quibble over whether malt flavours can ever be actually refreshing, as stated in the tasting notes. Foxfield’s John Peel 3.9% had a nice hop kick and was quite tasty for a low vol beer.
Meanwhile, the beer minutes ticked away and the festival started to get busy with post match drinkers. Tigertops Orange Glow 3.8% was slightly disappointing, with the added orange peel failing to add enough punch to a standard wheat beer. Their Mr Rye 4.8% was just a bad idea, with the added rye giving it an unpleasant harsh taste. As people started to drift away, it was time to think about going. So the excellent West Croft Janet’s Jungle Juice 6.0% was sampled. This is a very tasty, refreshing cider that was soon devoured by the greedy masses. And so, home time. But, wait, what’s this? A phone call asking if we were staying on for the evening session? I couldn’t speak for Plating John, or Eddie, the eager, legal, beagle, but I was definitely leaving. Except, I didn’t. And so the descent into etc…
John bravely battled on, but when he proclaimed Leyden Raglan Sleeve the greatest beer in the world, ever, we knew he’d had enough! He was looking a bit green around the gills, and was in danger of doing a Don Ricardo, so he wisely retired. And so, eventually, after more than 10 hours on duty, so did I. I headed for the late night sustenance of fish & chips, leaving Eddie humming the Horst Wessel Lied as he rambled homewards.
Plus points of the festival-the simplified token system. One token for a half and two for a pint was great, particularly as this applied to all beers, ciders and even foreign beers. And these were proper tokens, big, solid plastic, types. Food portions were also good and filling. On the minus side, no effort at all was being made to cool the beers. Therefore, considering the festival had been open since Thursday, it was no surprise that by late Sat, condition wasn’t what it should have been. Best beer was Marble Manchester Bitter. Worst beer was Boggart’s laughable effort.