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WHAT YOU SAID ABOUT BATTERSEA 2008

Every year, after the festival, we publish on the website the comments made on the feedback forms. In February 2008 admissions totalled 4,283 - 53 down on 2007 - but we had to turn back a long queue at 9pm on the Friday as the cask ale was running out. CAMRA members accounted for less than 40% of admissions but for 76 of the 94 comments collated below and for three quarters of nominations for the Beer of the Festival (won by Marble Janine’s One).

Did you enjoy the festival?

  • Marvellous - SW London
  • Excellent festival - superb venue - Mid Chilterns
  • Great festival. Thank you - West Kent
  • Thank you for another great festival - E London & City
  • Great event, keep going - Canterbury
  • Well done! Keep it up, please - Croydon & Sutton
  • Superb festival, well organised as usual - Kingston & Leatherhead
  • My 5th time here, and still as great as ever. See you next year (hopefully) - SE Essex
  • Nice one guys. Enjoyable as ever - Slough, Windsor & Maidenhead
  • A well run festival! - Croydon & Sutton
  • Brilliant festival. Our favourite (and we come from North London). Well done! - Non-member
  • Excellent festival as always - Brighton & South Downs
  • As ever, a warm welcome from the organisers and helpers. Friendly, relaxing festival - SE London
  • Many thanks to all organisers and volunteers for the usual commitment and hard work! - SW London
  • Staff serving the beer were friendly as usual, shame the cider ran short on Friday evening - Non-member
  • Good idea to have cider & perry bar downstairs even if I never get around to tasting them! - non-member
  • Cider downstairs seems to work. Superb festival team as always - see you next year - E London & City
  • Another fine festival - hope to return tomorrow - Richmond & Hounslow
  • Good service at Battersea festival - Kingston & Leatherhead
  • The staff were excellent and extremely knowledgeable and helpful - SW London
  • Amazing, knowledgeable service at foreign beers. These guys really know their stuff! - SW London
  • This beer festival is one of London’s best. Great venue, easy to get to, great range of beers - Non-member
  • Good festival - SE London
  • Thank you for the lovely beer and adorable puppies! - Non-member
  • Best festival yet! Great range of beers, friendly staff. Could do with more seats, but you can’t get much in the space available. Thanks to all involved, hope to be back 2009! - SE Essex
  • Great venue, I liked the cash, no tokens! Offered help (disabled) when I came in - very good! Beer if weather is warmer could be too warm!? - W Sussex
  • Nice venue when it’s not too busy - SW Essex
  • Great festival even though got a bit overcrowded on Thurs. Maybe you need to look for a bigger venue; just goes to show that we are a growing breed - well done!! (What might be helpful though is to have somewhere to put glasses when one needs to go to the bog) - Bexley
  • Busier (Thurs), but not so easy to find beers (alphabet-wise). Ab-fab tho! - Non-member (not yet)
  • We aim to come every year as we think it’s one of the best beer festivals around London. The alphabetic (?) order of the beers was a bit difficult to manage this year!! - N London
  • Thanks, and well done to all involved. Enjoyed the booze! But found the real ale layout a bit confusing and unhelpful! - Croydon & Sutton
  • Organisation - chaos of beers/situation (etc) - Kingston & Leatherhead
  • The event needs some music performed by live entertainers. NB could do with someone playing the organ on the stage. It is however a very nice environment for a beer festival - Non-member
  • Soft drink availability unclear - full marks for no charge though. Diet coke please. After 2 hours I have to say I enjoyed it!! - Surrey & Hants Borders

Did you like the food?

  • One of my favourite festivals. A wonderful range of beers and food (Bigos): an ideal combination! - Deal, Dover & Sandwich
  • Food v. good, esp. Polish dishes. Service excellent - SW London
  • Your food knocks spots off the food at the GBBF! - W Kent
  • Fantastic food outlet. The goat curry was lovely. Brilliant choice with excellent helpful staff - Non-member
  • Caterers very good for this sort of thing - Non-member
  • Great food stall, but need more space to eat - Bexley
  • Much better veggie food this year. Thanks - NE Hants
  • Poor veggie food - Liverpool
  • A selection of pasties. Beer sausages (Veggie and normal) - Oxford
  • Should have been some salad with the grub - Milton Keynes
  • We missed the pork scratchings! But had a lovely time ... what about some better catering???! - SE London

Did we get the beer order right?

  • Great beers - very well kept - N Sussex
  • Good beer selection, good food. Keep it up - SE Essex
  • Superb selection of beers - SE London
  • Very good festival. Lots of beers with an ABV < 4.0% - Kingston & Leatherhead
  • Staff was very good. The only problem is seeing what the barrels contain for ‘old codgers’ without bi-focles (sic). Suggest large black letters on white background. In this festival there are too many beers below 5% ABV - we are not all car drivers, especially at a beer festival - Kingston & Leatherhead
  • This festival has more dark beers than most (my favourites) - long may you continue to do so. Thanks - Oxford
  • More session beers (good) - Oxford
  • More Jennings next year please! - Kingston & Leatherhead
  • Dent Brewery for next year! More Clive’s Wobblejuice please - Oxford
  • More perries if possible - Watford
  • Excellent friendly festival. Good beer range. No complaints at all. Could I humbly suggest (as BLO) that you try some beer from the Concrete Cow Brewery next year? Just one more suggestion - we do 1st, 2nd, 3rd beers of the festival and award points accordingly. We think it gets to be a clearer result? Consider? - Milton Keynes & North Bucks
  • Would be nice to list top 3 rather than just one - SW London
  • Battersea Brewery not available - a great pity at Battersea Beer Fest! - SW London
  • Good selection of golden ales on Day 1 but not many stouts etc. yet - Non-member
  • I was disappointed that so few milds were available Thursday12.30-15.00 (except ‘the usuals’: Bank Top, Brains, Black Cat etc). Thank you all very much for another jolly good show - W London
  • Probably my favourite festival. Very good programme, lovely atmosphere. However Thursday afternoon a little light on beer choice. More Sussex beers next time? See you 2009 - E London & City
  • Disappointed how few stouts and porters available mid-festival - Croydon & Sutton
  • Disappointed more milds were ‘not available’ (Thursday lunchtime) 9/30 advertised. 20+ being ‘held back’ - against CAMRA policy! - Member
  • Wrong! Apart from those that had already been drunk on the Wednesday, the beers that were not available for the Thursday afternoon session were not yet ready. Full casks on the floor were waiting for a vacant place on the stillage before they could be tapped.
  • If a beer is ready it should be on! Interesting that all the dark beers on one side a first for me! Keep it up! - E & Mid Surrey
  • Beer quality dubious at times (often tasted like not quite ready!) Too few beers on at any one time - again! (though an improvement) Put all on at the start; if you need another day to settle, buy one and put prices up! - E Surrey
  • Order more beer for Friday next year - SW London
  • Open on Saturday and keep some barrels back for Fri/Sat - Oxford
  • Pity half the beers not on again - this stops many of our members coming - Brighton & South Downs
  • Too many beers tapped but not on sale. Shall not come again and will advise others not to come - Birmingham
  • As a life CAMRA member and a regular volunteer worker at the Croydon/Sutton beer festival, it annoys me that the so-called volunteers remove labels off of the beer’s when they are not pouring, thus declaring that they are ‘off’, when all that needs to be done is raise the keg. Surely all staff should be advised not to make that decision but advise the bar manager instead. I’m fed up of seeing beers removed from sale when clearly there is enough in the keg to continue!!- Croydon & Sutton (sic)

Had all the radiators been turned right off soon enough? Sorry, not this time .....

  • Ossett Pale Gold - awful; had it tipped away. All British draught beers too warm. All beers described as ‘refreshing’ ... weren’t. A relief to move to the foreign draught beers. I imagine the sales of these on the night were high ... Otherwise, still a favourite festival - Enfield & Barnet
  • Ossett Pale Gold did receive nominations for Beer of the Festival. Your comment suggests we should have declared it ‘off’ sooner.
  • Do not reorder the Enville Czechmate Saaz unless you can reduce temperature - ideally about 45°F, I suspect - Member
  • Beers are too warm: where is the cooling? - Kingston & Leatherhead
  • Beers were slightly on the warm side when we visited on Friday afternoon - Bexley
  • Beer far too warm - Thurs early afternoon - use evaporative cooling? (Possibly not on with your sprung floor). Temperature gradient across hall can’t help - Surrey & Hants Borders
  • Your beer is too warm, please sort it for next year - North Herts
  • Beers too warm this year. Needed a lot of hoppiness to maintain flavours. Hall probably at 20-21°C, temperature of beers must have been 15-16°C. Global warming finally hits Battersea! It’s badly affected the London Drinker (March) festival for years. Suggest coolers for future. Have been coming to SW London festival for a long time (1st time was in West Norwood). Last year was the best ever; no coincidence it had been snowing, I feel, and the hall was distinctly cool - SE London
  • Needs cooling!! - W Middlesex
  • What about beer cooling system - ?
  • Beer cooling??? - ?
  • Cooling jackets for the beer next year?? - Croydon & Sutton
  • Use the CAMRA cooling system - Kingston & Leatherhead
  • Temperature too warm - ?
  • We had been assured that all radiators in the halls and corridors would be switched off at the close of the BAC performance the previous Saturday evening. The cooler we start, the cooler we finish and accommodating the resumption of the Masque of the Red Death entailed particular constraints this year.
  • Went Wednesday (and Friday). Very disappointed with overcrowding, due largely to side aisles being closed - Croydon & Sutton
  • Too crowded around the bar(s) - Non-member
  • Would have appreciated more ventilation in main hall - Brighton & South Downs
  • You run a great festival and I will be back ... but the landlord is taking the piss not letting you have adequate ventilation: it is damn hot and not just in my underpants! - N London
  • Beautiful venue; unfortunately the fantastic ceiling was obscured by black sheeting that blocked the natural light - shame really. A see through material would be better - Non-member
  • Some activity would be good. Music or pub games or tasting tours etc - Non-member
  • Can we have the tombola back next year, please? It’s been much missed... - SW London
  • What happened to the wonderful tombola stall? - Oxford
  • Missing a tombola - Liverpool

Other suggestions and observations

  • Having the wines is great, thank you. As the only female in an all male family party this is very refreshing. Thank you - Non-member
  • Third pint markings on glasses? - SE London
  • Third pints next year, please - it allows the tasting of more beers before cycling home! Thanks. (All it takes is another line on the glasses and calculation of prices - not so difficult.) - Member
  • Third pint glasses would be appreciated especially by women members! A huge success at 2007 GBBF, as I recall - SW London
  • Please make sure that everyone gets a glass before entry into hall - SW Essex
  • A cloakroom would be good (it gets v hot) but realise staffing it is not a first priority - SW London
  • Any chance of cloakroom facilities (lunchtime)? - SE London
  • Please make it known that there are disabled toilets available on the ground floor - Croydon & Sutton
  • Festival part of your website could be better designed - SE London
  • You should have more than the poster and beer list on the website - more about catering/no music/etc - W London
  • Publicity poor; website poor-abysmal; logo poor - ?
  • I don’t see a ‘Cat’ on your logo, glass etc. Dogs & Cats - Cats & Dogs 2009? Get it right - Non-member
  • Whilst the Battersea stray pets’ home now explicitly embraces equal opportunities, the Cat logo traditionally goes with the Catford Beer Festival.
  • UK map with pins locating breweries/counties, regions etc; SP (?) league table; postcards of breweries etc for sale - you’re missing a merchandising goldmine - Non-member
  • Please consider using tickets. I have come on a day off this time - not everyone has that luxury. I haven’t attended for the last 2 years due to bad experience queuing outside in freezing cold weather. Some people need their jobs to fund their entertainment, e.g. beer festivals and, if self employed, do not necessarily get 4 weeks holiday a year. Or else (as I am) they work in a team where everyone else has young children so cannot get time off in school holidays - luckily Battersea is not at half term! - Croydon & Sutton
  • V sorry to hear about ‘Arry Hart. I have seen him here for many years - N London
  • Smoking arrangements could be better - SE London
  • Smokers’ rights! We like beer, too! - Non-member
  • Smoking is banned - suggest snuff taking in main hall by festival staff while open to public not a good idea either - E London & City
  • Suggestions:- French waitresses serving English bottled ales; pub games for next year; half price Topics; more stools/chairs; more girls and less old duffers; gurning championships; cheese rolling; more beards/gargoyles; some beer memorabilia stalls - Oxford
  • Why is there a pig on the T-shirt; no refuse collectors as security; easier re-entry criteria; fewer beer miles; nine glasses for the german; more valentines; few holes in the cheese; fewer moles - more hair; hearing aids all round; CAMRA earrings (not the kind you take pictures with); more barbers; more pork scratchings for Clive’s Wobble Juice; more cyder with Rosé - Liverpool
  • When I thought I was making a polite suggestion about the festival having 2 pint as well as 4 pint carry-out containers I was told to ‘f**k off’ by someone I later learned was the festival organiser! I have never been so insulted by anyone in a position of authority like this and am utterly disgusted! I am resigning my CAMRA membership in protest! - Ex-member
  • Polite suggestions are better written on feedback forms than argued obsessively with a heavily preoccupied volunteer organiser. Give Chris his due, he only lost it the once, though he came close with another CAMRA member complaining because we would not break the law and allow smoking in the building.

GMS - 3 March 2008

If you have any queries about the Festival, or want to know about the 2009 Festival, please contact Chris Cobbold (organiser@beerfest.org).

CAMRAswl Pub of the Year 2007 announcement at the Battersea Beer Festival, 07 Feb 2008, winner - the Trafalgar, South Wimbledon
This shows the VIPs at the announcement of the Trafalgar as Pub of the Year 2007 at the Battersea Beer Festival on Thursday 7 Feb 2008.
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The brewer with the Certificate for the Battersea 2008 Beer of the Festival
This is the Marble Brewery’s brewer with the Certificate for the Battersea 2008 Beer of the Festival, Janine’s One, which was presented during the branch trip to the brewery in July 2008
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