Every year, after the festival, we publish on the website the comments made on the feedback forms. In February 2010 a total of 4,788 customers attended over the three days, 5% fewer than last year, but the increased order of cask beer and cider lasted only an hour or so longer! Between the visitors, the staff and the invited dignatories a record total amount of drink was consumed: 21,384 pints of real ale from the main bar, 48 tubs of cider and lots more German and Belgian stuff besides! Beer of the Festival was won by Sambrook’s Junction Ale.

All comments received, both good and bad, are published here. CAMRA members accounted for 75% of the 121 comments collated below.

Did you enjoy the festival?

  • Congrats on your 20th (we haven’t missed many). Keep it up! Thanks to all especially the volunteers. Cheers!! - SW London
  • Keep up the good work - Enfield & Barnet
  • Keep up the good work! - Non-member
  • Great evening - Non-member
  • It gets better and better; keep it up - SW London
  • 1st time at fest but not last - Bexley
  • Great selection of ales. Well done, a brilliant fest! - Croydon & Sutton
  • Thanks! Reminds me of Norwich fest in St Andrews Hall - Non-member
  • As rewarding as ever! Here’s to next 20 yrs! - SW London
  • I love Battersea BF; one of the best - S Herts
  • Excellent festival as always. Wish I had more time. See you next year - Bexley
  • Best Battersea Beer Festival for many years; quality excellent - Non-member
  • Great festival. Enjoyed everything - Kingston & Leatherhead
  • Well done local Branch! Excellent! - SE London
  • Once again an excellent evening; really liked all the additional beers. Keep on promoting real ales - Non-member
  • Fantastic event, my first time here. Very welcoming, good pricing; loved it all - Non-member
  • Very enjoyable - Non-member
  • Warm and friendly atmosphere - SW London
  • Again, Battersea BF has been the friendliest BF around; beer range excellent and beers in great nick. Well done! - Richmond & Hounslow
  • Best Battersea Beer Festival I have been to! - SW London
  • Great Fest, Chris! Thanks. Only sorry Rod (Ellery) not here to enjoy it - Richmond & Hounslow
  • After 20 wonderful years you (CAMRA) still have to order more beer. What a wonderful testament to the format. Keep on - Croydon & Sutton
  • I’m an old fart. I come every year. Thank you - Member
  • Best of the London festivals; enjoy it every year - Tendring
  • Great festival. Many thanks - Slough, Windsor & Maidenhead
  • A very good festival, thank you - Brighton & South Downs
  • It was lovely… - Surrey S/W
  • It’s my favourite festival in the calendar! - Aylesbury Vale & Wycombe
  • Enjoyable event as usual - Salisbury & S Wilts
  • Fantastic. Better than GBBF! - SW London
  • Fantastic - Non-member
  • Fantastic beerfest cures; may there be many more! - Kingston & Leatherhead
  • Bloody good
  • Awesome! (like a hot dog) - Non-member
  • We had a great time and we thought the amount of people would put us off but it didn’t; food; beer excellent
  • Good location, beer in excellent condition; friendly, excellent festival - Non-member
  • Really pleased you had such a good turnout but, on the flip side, too much seems to be running out early (it’s only Thursday!) - SW London
  • As a resident of South East London, I envy SW London its excellence of venue; quality of pubs eligible for commendation; excellence of spirit of all volunteers at the Festival itself; exceedingly pleasant atmosphere inside the venue; and all round good marks. On behalf of the Royal Oak in the Borough, I congratulate the relevant people who have done so well. I have no criticisms to make; if popular beers have finished then that’s a reflection of how good they are, not grounds for criticism. Oh yes, one beef: the PA announcements for Best Pub in SW London were worse than a garbled Tube announcement on London Underground - Non-member
  • Excellent directions on website - Leeds
  • Great night. Please turn over (nothing written on the back!) - Non-member

More about the beers!

  • A much better beer order this year with a better selection than previously. Congratulations on having a good choice of beers on Friday: plenty of beers on - Brighton & South Downs
  • Good selection of beers - Portsmouth
  • Beers generally all in good condition, even late Friday - Member
  • Range of beers excellent; quality of beers very good - NE Suffolk
  • Excellent choice of perries and ciders on Wednesday - Watford
  • Great selection of dark beers. Thanks - S Herts
  • Great selection of darkies - S Herts
  • A very good selection of milds! - Richmond & Hounslow
  • Always like milds; do not get them in London.‘Dark Side of the Moose’ was very good too - Richmond & Hounslow
  • Great festival, and good to see Sambrook’s beers on pump - SW London
  • Thank you for brightening up my February. Excellent choice in giving the 4% and below a good selection. Heating has proved a challenge but wouldn’t deter me from visiting again. Chris for Prime Minister - Member
  • Bloody cold:- beer lovely - West Kent
  • Beer too cold this year - SE Essex
  • Milds/stouts/porters all kept a little too cold: could do with being a couple of degrees warmer for full flavour - Member
  • Here Wed Feb 10th. Suspect that I, and the beers, were too chilled. Several ales not available; Thornbridge disappeared, not replaced. Still, pretty good! - N Beds
  • Every beer I’ve had was good. Disappointed several weren’t on but I knew if it ain’t ready it ain’t ready. I’ll be back next year. Thanks - Kingston & Leatherhead
  • Very good: KSA delicious; Summer Lightning not as good as normal but still very nice - Croydon & Sutton
  • Very good Orange Wheat Beer - Croydon & Sutton
  • Surprised that tasting notes didn’t mention that Bazens Pacific is as smoky as a fire sale! - SW London
  • Worst ale: Bazens Pacific Bitter tastes of disinfectant & burnt rubber! - SE London
  • I would like to see Weetwood Gold in 2011 - ELAC
  • We are Beer testers of the British Isles. ‘Have you tried Lundy Lighthouse?’ - Non-member
  • Not enough 5%+ real ales - Croydon & Sutton
  • I only came because you advertised 40 kils more beer and 5 beers over 6%. I had given up on Battersea Beer Festival due to weak beer. I arrived at 12 and found no English beers over 5.9% (Jaipur IPA) on until about 3pm. It is winter; there are many stronger ales available. PLEASE ORDER THEM AND ENSURE THEY ARE ON AT THE BEGINNING OF THE BEERFEST - W Middx
  • Battersea has never been promoted as a Winter Beer Festival; instead we offer a broad range of session strength bitters and milds.
  • Not all beers are on, especially the four dark beers that I wanted, and after that I went for any beer that I had not tried before and half of those were not on - Northampton
  • No dark beer at opening - E & Mid-Surrey
  • Yes there was, only we were late affixing the cask end labels, sorry.
  • All beers should be on at the start - Non-member
  • Please put on all the ale at the start - N London
  • Unless beers are being held back because of lack of condition, I feel that all available beers should be on from the start, not held back. (You’re right, as we explained in the programme!) Otherwise, another excellent festival: 8/10 - N Surrey
  • Not enough beer Friday evening - Non-member
  • Could do with some more beer so you last out Friday eve - Non-member
  • V. disappointed how early you sold out on Friday … again! You give no discount to CAMRA members on Friday, yet run out of beer before 9pm: not good enough! - SE London
  • Can’t believe how early you ran out of beer (+ most ciders) by 9pm! Should offer reduced entry on Friday pm as same happened last year - Non-member
  • With only 40 cask beers left, we reduced the admission charge to £1 at 7.50pm this year, then allowed free admission half an hour later when only 26 were available.

Measures and glasses

  • Disappointed that 3 of the 7½ I had were not half a pint! Please fill the glasses! - ELAC
  • We like to do so. If you think your beer will settle to below the line, you have only to ask for a top up.
  • 1/3 pint option is really appreciated - SE London
  • Mark all glasses to 1/3rd - S Herts
  • It’s great that you are doing 1/3 pints, but why not have a 1/3rd line on your pint glasses? (It costs the same for 3 lines as for 2 lines) - SW Essex
  • A third looks very little in a pint glass and bar staff might find it difficult not to overfill (and that would cost us).
  • 1. Please have the festival pint glasses marked to give the ‘third of a pint’ option as well as the half pint option - that way, I won’t have to walk around with 2 glasses!
    You wouldn’t have to do so: staff serve the beer into a third pint glass and then pour it into yours.
  • 2. The festival pint glass, as a souvenir, should show the year of the festival. This is more important than showing the ‘number’ of the festival (i.e. ‘The 20th’). For anyone buying the glass and looking back in later years, ‘20th BBF’ means nothing whereas ‘BBF 2010’ makes it far easier to conjure up memories from that time - Non-member

Programmes and labelling

  • Colour coding of milds and porters in catalogue excellent idea - SW London
  • Two very useful features in the programme, I thought: (1) Grading ciders (sweet, dry, etc); (2) displaying the ‘LocAle’ symbol: very useful. Could a LocAle clip/sticker be added to the labels on the casks to stand out when browsing without the programme, or just to refresh the memory? - Deal, Dover & Sandwich


  • Food good - Portsmouth
  • Food good - Non-member
  • Polish food v. good - SW London
  • Polish food superb - S Herts
  • Great food! - Leeds
  • The food at this festival is consistently excellent, as it is every year - Non-member
  • Food excellent; why not also food in cider hall? - SW London
  • I think that the food, particularly the bigos, is excellent. Bravo to your caterers - Non-member
  • Bring back the crusty cheese & onion rolls: perfect beer supping food! - SE London
  • A cheese roll please. Can we have a cheese bar: strong cheddar cheese - ELAC
  • Please could we have a change of caterer next year: someone who sells rolls, sandwiches, pies, pasties etc without a main meal - Brighton & South Downs
  • Cheese rolls were available on request.
  • Some traditional English food please - Croydon & Sutton
  • The food is mostly rubbish: the sausage & chips is the worst thing I’ve eaten this year - Non-member
  • I enjoyed the beer festival and thanks but the food was abysmal and overpriced for the truly appalling quality that it was. The food people have a monopoly here and they well and truly took advantage of that. Please use a different company next time - SW London
  • The majority would evidently beg to differ. We have used different caterers on two occasions over the last ten years but neither of them provided such good value as this year’s range of nourishing hot food at prices not exceeding £5.

Seating etc

  • Plenty of seating - Non-member
  • Plenty of seating during the daytime - Portsmouth
  • Very good festival; nice to see plenty of seating. Thanks very much - E Dorset
  • Plenty of chairs: well done! - SW Essex
  • Seating scarce - Aylesbury Vale & Wycombe
  • Not enough chairs except for cider bar; not enough places to rest beer while eating; no sink to empty unwanted beer or clean glass - Brighton & South Downs
  • There were buckets behind the bars and a large sink in the Gents off the foyer.

Heating etc

  • Excellent venue but too cold this year! - W London
  • During the daytime, the main hall was rather cold - Portsmouth
  • Thanks, but v. cold. Some heating before 3pm please next time it’s this cold! - Croydon & Sutton
  • How about some heating!! - Croydon & Sutton
  • A little heat would not have gone amiss - Non-member
  • It was very cold in the hall on Friday, quite unpleasant - Non-member
  • Nice beer festival but too cold. I will think twice about coming next time. Left earlier than I would have normally - Enfield & Barnet
  • Some heating (left early, too bloody cold). PS Don’t blame the weather! - Non-member
  • Warm the bloody place up! - E & Mid-Surrey
  • We have found at Battersea that any heating in the Grand Hall or side corridors only tends to warm up the beers but, yes, we might have got away with it in the cold weather this year.
  • Let people in when it’s cold!!! - Non-member
  • … having to wait to get in at 12 o’clock - SW London
  • Annoyed at having to wait at 12.00 in the rain to get in - Non-member
  • As at any other licensed premises, we can only let people in during the permitted hours. The slight delay in opening on Friday was due to safety considerations.
  • I was amazed that a ‘steward’ opened a window, three places away from the cider bar, without consideration for those of us located nearby, in near-freezing winter conditions, on the alleged grounds that some of the people at the cider bar were ‘too hot’. I took affirmative action, I am proud to report, and closed it again. The steward concerned had the cheek to attempt to upbraid me about my logical response. I am unrepentant. The window concerned was far from the most proximate to the cider bar and the steward concerned showed gross disregard for the duty of care and to myself and my friends as members of the public. In short: sod him - Salisbury & S Wilts

Members’ discounts

  • Entrance fee too much; Wallington festival free for members - SW London
  • I attended on Friday where the price for CAMRA members was the same as non-members. Surely there should have been a discount for us members. Apart from that, great festival - Richmond & Hounslow
  • It’s a shame that membership does not attract a discount on Friday! - N Beds
  • Should be a discount for CAMRA members at all times - Bexley
  • Always have a reduction for members - Non-member
  • Recognise members with a discounted entry all days - N London
  • Discount on entry for members - Non-member
  • I am pissed off at having to pay full entry on Friday as a member - SW London
  • No CAMRA discount in Friday?? Very poor form and am gobsmacked you done it - S Herts
  • Was disappointed the lack of CAMRA discount on Friday was not better advertised; only a quid but a point of principle - Brighton & South Downs
  • All this year’s publicity clearly stated, “£1 discount for CAMRA members on Wednesday and Thursday”. £3 admission to a London festival on a Friday night is hardly extortionate. The CAMRA national guidelines require that a discount need only be offered to CAMRA members at one session of the festival. In common with most other festivals, we choose to exceed that. Our admission charges are intended to meet the cost of hiring the hall, a much higher cost than at Wallington. The alternative would be to increase the beer prices and we would prefer not to do that: this year’s average price at Battersea for cask ale was £2.55 a pint. Also, the 2009 Friday session was heavily oversubscribed. We sought to encourage members to come on Wednesday or Thursday this time.

Suggestions for improvement

  • Be ready on opening (Wed) - Non-member
  • Stop people propping up the bar - Surrey/Hants Borders
  • Can you do something to stop people standing at the bars once they’ve got their drinks? Otherwise you turn into the worst kind of pub where only the regulars get served because the regulars are all standing at the bar and preventing other people getting there!
  • Also, check your sampling policy. I saw one occasion where a couple of blokes tried 4 different beers before deciding which one they wanted. It’s a beer festival for god’s sake! Just get a drink and drink it! - SW London
  • Signage for cloakroom was too low quality; no info or confidence - Sussex
  • Battersea Dogs/Cats Home could provide cloakroom facility for coats/bags at charge of 50p/£1 for extra donations - SE Sussex
  • Need a map of the venue - E Surrey
  • Lighting above products stand is required. Lighting in hall needs checking (2 lights out) - SW London
  • London Heritage Pub Interiors book should be given more prominence on CAMRA stand! - SW London
  • Why not have pub games in Cider Hall, e.g. shut the box, shove-halfpenny, even darts - SW London
  • Love the new layout with foreign beers on the way in, but why not put that downstairs with cider and put the tombola in the door (to increase use) - SW London
  • As the foreign beers - bottles are supplied on sale or return - last longer, it makes more sense for orderly closing at the end of the festival to have that bar nearer the exit. This year, also, we had to clear everything out of the Lower Hall before leaving on Friday.
  • Paper towels to dry out beer spillage rather than sawdust! - Croydon & Sutton
  • Loo paper ran out in women’s loos: this is v. important problem - SW London
  • Why was there no material to dry your hands in the Gents toilets - Richmond & Hounslow
  • Be nice if you could persuade the staff not to stand outside chuffing pipe smoke in the faces of the queue - Oxford
  • Likewise chuffing it back into the foyer! Yes, we’re on the case.


  • Which branch: ‘SE Essex (unfortunately)’
  • Which branch: ‘SE Essex (alas)’

And finally …

  • Chris - don’t listen to the heathen. So why isn’t it screwing up my Valentine night with Pam?? - Watford
  • Where are the dolly birds? - Non-member

GMS - 23 February 2010

If you have any other queries about the 2010 Festival, or if you want to know about the 21st Battersea Beer Festival in February 2011, please telephone Chris Cobbold 020 8674 0556 or email organiser@batterseabeerfestival.org.uk.