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Every year, after the festival, we publish on the website the comments made on the feedback forms. In February 2009, paid admissions totalled a record 4,666 which was 383 more than in 2008. Free admissions after 19.00 on the Friday and invited guests on the Thursday took the total number of admissions over the three days to more than 5,000 for the first time. CAMRA members accounted for 37% of paid admissions but for 62% of nominations for the Beer of the Festival (won by Bowman’s Swift One) and for 75 of the 102 comments collated below.

Did you enjoy the festival?

  • Fantastic festival as ever! - Non-member
  • Look forward to every year! - Non-member
  • Very good - North Herts
  • I liked it - ELAC
  • Excellent festival, as always - Portsmouth & SE Hants
  • As usual an excellent festival - SE London
  • Another enjoyable year - N London
  • Another good Battersea Festival - ELAC
  • Great range of beer - Exeter & E Devon
  • This is the best BBF that I have attended - excellent selection of bitters (esp. golden) and dark ales - N Hants
  • Excellent selection to choose from - Non-member
  • Pleased to see usual excellent selection of session beers - SW London
  • Very impressed by the wide selection of beers! - Non-member
  • Lovely variety of beers. See you next year! - Mid-Surrey (Redhill)
  • A very good selection of beers and food - South Herts
  • Excellent range of beers. Very good quality food - W London
  • Another first-rate festival, with a good choice of beers and a tasty selection of food. Well done to all concerned - Member
  • Another excellent festival - exactly as expected at Battersea! Polish food forever! - Richmond & Hounslow
  • Fantastic selection of ales, especially the darkies. Prices spot on - shame other festivals charge 2 much. Food was great - up the Poles - jen-koo-yah!! Well done 2 U all - South Herts
  • The cider and perry bar is awkward to get to especially as I have a gammy leg. Would work if cooked food was available in cider bar. I liked the Polish food but too long a wait for the chicken curry - not ready until 1.45!! - SW London
  • Excellent prices - Croydon & Sutton
  • Excellent festival - Brighton & South Downs
  • First time I’ve been to this festival - will come again next year! - SE London/N London
  • A great selection. Really good atmosphere, good to see so many small brewers in London - Non-member
  • Damn fine eclectic menu - N Hants
  • One of the better/best festivals going, good value. Well done, keep it up! - Non-member
  • Well organised festival - good work! - Croydon & Sutton
  • Very good festival. Thanks - Non-member
  • Keep up the good work! Many thanks - Non-member
  • I like the Fest - reasonable door ticket prices is the way to go. There were even chatty, articulate bar staff this year!! That’s how to ‘sell’ CAMRA. Good luck! - SW London
  • The staff on bar were very kind and helpful - SW London
  • Stephen Blann is v. nice and v. helpful! xxx - Non-member
  • Yet another great festival. Well done to Chris and the staff - Richmond & Hounslow
  • Great festival once again. Many thanks to Chris and all the team of volunteers - Kingston & Leatherhead
  • Thank you, Mr Cobbold, for shielding us from our own miscalculations, i.e. turning up an hour too early. We would’ve frozen our nuts off otherwise!! - E & Mid Surrey
  • I really enjoyed the foreign beer bar - Non-member
  • Great day. Thank you. Liked the German draught beers - Non-member
  • Was great. I love Olaf - Non-member
  • Well organised. Cider/perry seemed to be poor relations. Foreign beers - great selection. Impressive knowledge esp. Peter Sutcliffe - Non-member
  • Nice to see a lot of the beers are cheaper this year, but none should be more than £2.20p. Good idea having the cider downstairs, rather more room in the main hall and the cider pissheads can only fall over going upstairs. What about putting the foreign beers there too? All in all very well laid out this year - SW London
  • Another great festival! Thanks. I do think it’s outgrown the venue! Perhaps move the foreign beer downstairs to prevent the ‘bottleneck’ at the corner - Kingston & Leatherhead
  • Always a great festival! Regular attendee. How about foreign beers downstairs with perry.cider? - South Herts
  • Thank you for putting beer styles on ‘clips’ i.e. barrel ends and in programme - Enfield & Barnet
  • Nice to see a cloakroom this year - Non-member
  • Much better than GBBF, and found seating easily, much appreciated - Non-member
  • Not enough chairs - Croydon & Sutton
  • At times, about 9-9.30pm, quite a queue at the bar, but that is probably just due to the success of the festival! Yes, consistently good quality of beer! - Croydon & Sutton
  • Make an announcement to stop people leaning against the counter - SW London
  • Too crowded. Halve tables or just put seats along walls! - Aylesbury
  • Venue outgrown itself - SW London
  • Well organised with an excellent selection of beers. I know it’s costly but it could do with improved atmosphere. £2 was very reasonable. Could do with a wider selection of ciders and perries - Non-member (Greece)
  • This venue continues to be entirely inadequate. Small, noisy, crowded - other London beer festivals have expanded to meet demand and it is a shame CAMRAswl is so lacking in ambition that it will cram people into this tiled sardine can and turn beer fans away at the door when fire regulations prevent any further crowding. Beer good, staff excellent, food excellent but the festival experience is still one of the worst - SE London
  • Real shame not enough beer bought to last throughout the last night. Also very crowded venue at almost all times. Would have been useful to have been told in the queue there were only half a dozen beers left rather than spend half an hour outside on a February night to come in just before it all goes - Brighton & South Downs
  • Event has been poorly managed. Poor queue control outside - no info given to people wanting to get in. Perhaps a volunteer walking the line would be nice. Tell us whilst outside that beer is down to last 10/12 casks and we won’t waste our time. Tell us it’s three or four deep at the bar and we won’t waste our time. The one pint I managed to get v. good but overall disappointed - Brighton & South Downs
  • Not sure of the need to charge entrance for Fri night - there wasn’t enough beer - SE London
  • Just upset you charged CAMRA members £2.00 to get in at 19.10 on Fri 13th (unlucky!) after beer had gone - SE London
  • We stopped charging on the door on Friday at 19.00 but, with hindsight, should have done so a little sooner. Only the Belgian, Dutch and German beers lasted out.
  • A list printed on the day of beers on/likely to be on would be a great help - SW London
  • You ran out of beer too early on the Friday - Croydon & Sutton
  • Great festival, nice facilities. Try opening Thurs-Sat instead of Wed-Fri. It will suit all the young people that this festival attracts and hopefully gain some new members! - SE London
  • Thurs-Friday-Saturday would be better - Non-member

Any particular comments about the beers

  • Tried 13 beers. Too difficult to choose a winner - Croydon & Sutton
  • Many beers palatable on Friday, but none I would be comfortable nominating for Beer of the Festival - Mid Chilterns
  • Otley brewery a real find - great stuff! - Non-member
  • No bias, this (Surrey Hills Albury Ruby) is a fantastic beer! - Mid-Surrey (Redhill)
  • Superb beer (Surrey Hills Albury Ruby) - beautiful taste - SW London
  • Not enough mild on Wednesday 11 - Croydon & Sutton
  • Feb 12, 19.00 only five dark beers available!! Please improve balance - N Beds
  • The order of beers left a lot to be desired - seemed to be random alphabetical. Beer range good though. Shame a lot of the dark ones weren’t on till Thursday - Surrey/Hants Borders
  • It was a shame that lots of the beers were not ready to drink. Good fun all the same. Thanks. We also found the not-quite-alphabetical ordering a little hard to follow, particularly towards the end - Non-member
  • It would be nice if all the beers were in brewery order at the bar. The current system is very haphazard and I have found difficulty in finding the beers that I require. Please put this matter right next year - Slough, Windsor & Maidenhead
  • To make such a wide range of cask beers available over the course of the festival depends on replacing empty firkins on the stillage by full ones. We cannot expect customers to empty casks to order with a view to maintaining alphabetical sequence.
  • Please can we have a few more stouts and porters? After all, it is February! - Portsmouth & SE Hants
  • It was nice to see more dark beers this year in place of so-called golden beers, but it would be nice to see some old ales and more porters and less stout- Croydon & Sutton
  • Beer selection too predictable - not as interesting as Pig’s Ear or Wallington. Either have beers from newer micros or have a locale theme - why no Sambrook’s, Brodies or Dorking? - SW London
  • More LocAles! - ELAC
  • I would like to have seen more LocAle - Croydon & Sutton
  • I was disappointed that the ‘guide’ carries a feature about Sambrook’s brewery (p23) yet Sambrook’s beer doesn’t appear in the selection. I’m confused with CAMRA, being a member for 8 years or so (maybe more), why blow the trumpet for local beer and then not have them present? Of course I guess the brewery may not have been ready - SW London
  • Surprised Sambrook’s not at the festival, being the only operating brewery in the branch area (programme p23) - Kingston & Leatherhead
  • A shame not to see the new ‘Wandle’ here from local brewery Sambrook’s. Came here hoping to taste it but no luck!
  • We have never promoted Battersea as a winter ales festival, a ‘tickers’ festival or a local ales festival, but the balance of the beer order is reviewed every year. Sambrook’s, Brodies and Dorking became available only after this year’s beer order had been finalised, though in the event Sambrook’s supplied six firkins of Wandle at short notice on the Friday.
  • Why no Harveys? - Brighton & South Downs
  • Harvey’s Dark Mild, please - SW Essex
  • Would like to see more Fyne Ales’s beers at CAMRA events - Non-member
  • No Young’s as in previous years; what a pity. So popular with the CAMRA supporters in the pubs - Non-member
  • Young’s/Wells absence very bad - Non-member - SE London
  • Surprised to see no Wells & Young’s - they used to be ‘Local’. Also, what has happened to Battersea Brewing Co? - SW London
  • We wish we knew. We have asked.
  • More choice needed - variety/style: variety the spice of life. Spice up your life - Non-member
  • More varied beers required - less options available. Banana - Non-member
  • What I would like to see is (as I have seen elsewhere) a now defunct beer brewed as a festival special to recipe by a few local brewers, and a winner been chosen - South Bucks
  • There was no Guinness!! - Non-member

An oversight, sorry

  • 1/3 pint mark needed on Festival glasses - Croydon & Sutton
  • Why not put 1/3 pint lines on pint glasses? Extra cost is negligible. I don’t want to drink from effeminate, curvy little French ‘glasses’ - Croydon & Sutton
  • Can you put a 1/3 pt line on the pint glass, then you only need one glass. I like to try beers that I have not had by having 1/3 of a pint and then having a pint when I find one that I like - SW London

The heating conundrum

  • Could do with being better heated - Non-member
  • Too cold - Croydon & Sutton
  • The beer was nice and cold (right temp) but the room was too cold! - N Herts
  • Hall was too cold. Good for the beer but not for comfort. Need to find a compromise whereby beer is kept at right temp but room is comfortable! - Gravesend & Darenth Valley
  • I would have stayed longer but it was very cold! You need to find a way of warming up the hall but keeping the beer at the correct temperature - Gravesend & Darenth Valley

Alternative food preferences

  • I’m hungry - Non-member
  • Just as well the food didn’t run out!
  • More food options would be nice - sausage and chips is a bit binding. Thai, cheddar and pickle, pasties or curry would hit the spot - Non-member
  • The food was dire! Greasy, plastic and tasteless. Good beer needs good food - Non-member (Greece)
  • There was plenty more than sausage and chips on offer throughout the festival, as attested by the five compliments recorded earlier.
  • Could we have some plain food please, such as bread & cheese - something which doesn’t affect our taste buds adversely! - SW London
  • Bacon and salad sandwiches and rolls, English cheeses, Stilton etc, pork pies and pasties - W Kent
  • More snacks, please: crisps, nuts etc, pretzels - S Hants
  • Would be good to be able to buy crisps, nuts etc on site - Croydon & Sutton


  • Provision of bathroom facilities for ladies is not v. well thought out - up two flights of stairs and a bit hard to find! - Non-member
  • Girl friend complained about toilets and how far away they were - ELAC
  • Not enough toilets - N Sussex

Other suggestions and observations

  • Could do with more games. Only tombola! - SW London
  • Music!!! - Non-member
  • It’s not publicised, innit? - Non-member
  • Please do not reduce the width of the serving area of the bar opposite the tombola in future, especially as all the handpumps were on that side. No dustpan and brush could be found on the Friday to clear up broken glass. Two should be available at the very least - SW London (staff)
  • Next year the late replacement firkins should go on the side of the bar facing away from Foreign Beer. This year the bottleneck would have been worse if the space behind the bar had been that bit wider! - SW London (staff)
  • OBEs for Products and Membership Stand staff - SW London (Products Manager)
  • The First Aiders were crap. I was refused a foot massage by one person who objected to my most reasonable request - SW London (Festival Organiser)
  • We also received an illustrated crustacean fantasy from an SW London member, a sexually provocative exhortation by a non-member and the usual rambling sequence of underlined complaints from a member from Southampton who may prefer not to visit Battersea next year.

GMS - 20 February 2009

If you have any other queries about the 2009 Festival, or if you have any general questions then please email

POTY 2008 announcement at the Battersea BeerFestival
The VIPs at the announcement of the Bricklayer’s Arms as Pub of the Year 2008 at the Battersea Beer Festival on Thursday 12 Feb 2009.

The Main hall on Wednesday afternoon

The Main hall on Wednesday afternoon

The Main hall on Wednesday afternoon

Click to see some more photos on Flickr.