The Beavertown Extravaganza takes place on 8th and 9th September this year, with 60 highly regarded breweries from all over the world pouring beer at Printworks in London’s Canada Water. In both ambition and scale, it surely represents the next stage in the evolution of beer festivals in this country*, but not everyone is happy with the chosen date. In fact, there was a proper online foofaraw due to the fact that it falls on the same weekend as the Leeds International Beer Festival, which along with the rescheduling of this year’s IndyMan means September is an action-packed month for beer geeks.
It’s true that those who had been planning to go to Leeds will now have a decision to make, but given the respective populations of both London and the wider Leeds area I expect both events to comfortably sell-out. In an ideal world, such epic beer festivals would be more evenly dispersed throughout the year, but Beavertown is bringing together 60 BREWERIES from all over THE WORLD. In turn, these breweries have their own schedules to manage and commitments to adhere to, so any suggestion that Beavertown acted in bad faith by choosing this date is so wide of the mark that it misses Matthew, Luke and John too (that’s a Catholic in-joke).
The ticket price of £55 (which includes all drinks) also caused consternation, but when considering the logistics outlined above, it’s clear to see this is a major undertaking for Beavertown. If you’re still not convinced, and see value in purely monetary terms, consider this: each brewery will be pouring 100ml measures of two rotating beers, so even if you only drink one of each from each brewery, that’s 12 litres or 21 pints. Not all beers are suited to the pint measurement of course, but if you really want to rinse every last drop of beer as well as joy out of the event, you may find comfort in those numbers.
The existing network of local, regional and national CAMRA festivals has been complimented by a range of new ‘craft beer’ festivals in recent years, and I’ve yet to hear of any struggling to sell tickets (the Birmingham Beer Bash isn’t happening this year but not on account of poor ticket sales). This weekend also sees the inaugural ‘Stokey Beer Fest‘ in London’s Stoke Newington, which as a former resident of N16 I’m delighted to be attending, and I’m pleased to say pre-sale tickets have sold out.
I salute Beavertown for having the balls to put on this event, especially as you just know there’ll be plenty of miserable bastards expecting/willing it to fail after the ‘Beaver My Valentine’ fiasco. Just think back to ten or even five years ago – when it comes to beer festivals in the UK, we’ve never had it so good.