The 21st Battersea Beer Festival has now finished
We look forward to seeing you again for the 22nd Battersea Beer Festival
Wednesday 8 — Friday 10 February 2012.

Visitors' Comments


Every year, after the festival, we publish on the website the comments made on the feedback forms. This February, for only the second time, admissions exceeded 5000 over the three days. CAMRA members accounted for 74 of the 98 comments collated below.

Did you enjoy the festival?

  • As always, a great festival! – E London & City
  • Excellent beer fest – S Hants
  • Excellent beer festival. Enjoyed it immensely! – S Hants
  • The best fest – Non-member
  • Superbly organised. Long may it continue – Non-member
  • Lovely festival every year as always – SE London
  • Love the festivals! – S Essex
  • Good festival – SE London
  • Keep up the good work – Non-member
  • Another well organised and run beer festival – SE London
  • Good festival, good beers, great volunteers; thank you – Croydon & Sutton
  • Great festival. Thanks to all involved – Non-member
  • Thank you to all involved in running this festival – Member
  • Once again, this is an excellent festival – been to most of the last 20 years! My congratulations go to the Organising Committee – Surrey/Hants Borders
  • Friendly evening; reasonable prices; local!! Meet friends!! Well done! – Non-member
  • Well done ‘chaps’! – E & Mid-Surrey
  • No adverse comments. Liked the prominence of the CAMRA merchandise area – NE Suffolk
  • Top festival. Excellent range of beers. Congratulations – N Sussex
  • As usual, a great festival both on beer range and atmosphere – SW London
  • Good range of beers. Enough seating. Good food – Portsmouth & SE Hants
  • Thanks for another great festival. Long may they continue. Great beers and atmosphere – Croydon & Sutton
  • Nice atmosphere. Good selection of beers, reasonably priced – Surrey/Hants Borders
  • Very, very reasonable beer prices, even for a CAMRA festival. Well done. (Can someone tell the White Horse, Parsons Green that £3.50-£4.00 a pint isn’t normal. You’ve proved you can sell a 5%+ ABV at under £3) – Watford
  • Remember that our staff are volunteers and that, unlike the White Horse, we do have to charge an admission fee.
  • Very nice range of beers this year. Thank you – SW London
  • Best range of ales I have seen at a festival. I love beers of session ale strength. Thank you very much – SE London
  • Good range of ales; not too many strong ales, nice drinkable ones. Well done – Amber Valley
  • An excellent festival like usual, great atmosphere and good choice of beers with a wide range of ciders and perries which is always good to see in this day and age! Well done to the management team for another brilliant festival! – Lincoln
  • Lovely to be back. A very satisfying selection of ales – N London
  • Excellent selection – Non-member
  • If only you could find pubs willing to do this on a regular basis! Regional/small breweries.... I seem to have trouble finding them! An excellent affair; I’ll be back!!! – Non-member
  • Just a quick line to say how much I enjoyed the festival last night (Friday). I had not been for maybe ten years but wish I had and will be looking to visit again next year. The range and quality of the beers was above expectation so well done. My only wish would be that you carry on to Saturday as I could bring my daughters’ partner and husband! – by email
  • Weekend hire at BAC for Monday cask collection would be prohibitively expensive.
  • Well worth coming! Bit disappointed in relation to particular beers not yet on! But more than enough to choose from! – E & Mid-Surrey
  • V. good as ever. Not all beers I would like to try on, but you know that you’re on the limit for beer space. 9/10 – N Hants
  • The food arrangements were excellent: good food, plenty of choice, and place to sit and eat it in comfort. Good range of beers, some of which were excellent. Congratulations, and thank you, to all of those involved ion providing another very good beer festival – N London
  • Excellent food! Good to see lots of beer below 4.0% – Kingston & Leatherhead
  • Excellent festival as always, especially for the darky ales. Polish food is fab (grenpobny). XX CU in 2012 XX – S Herts
  • Black pudding, chips, beans and samosas nice – Yorkshire
  • Overall very good – Richmond & Hounslow
  • Had a great evening, drank some superb ales! – Non-member
  • I only drink 90% cider; very few beers. Good/extremely good cider and perry choice – St Albans
  • Very good selection of session beers. Beers do not have to be strong to be good. You could do with wet towels over casks – S Beds
  • Good choice, in good condition, but even better if all casks had cooling jackets!!! Please!!! – SE London
  • There would be practical difficulties at Battersea in accommodating the jackets and the rest of the cumbersome water cooling equipment, and much less space for beer as a result. February is usually cold enough, though once again we found on the Monday that radiators had been left on all weekend, contrary to our requirement and reminder.
  • Turn the heating on in the corridors – it’s cold there. Main hall heating fine (nothing to do with beer condition and storage; don’t be silly) – Watford
  • From our experience at Battersea over 20 years, we would beg to differ!
  • Nice festival. The basement was a pleasant surprise! – SW London
  • Seating arrangements much improved. Games downstairs a good idea. Would welcome a food outlet in cider bar – SW London
  • Could do with a waitress service in the Lower Hall (saves climbing the stairs). Otherwise a very good venue – Basingstoke
  • Think the lower bar is too far down; perhaps some music? – SW London
  • Noticed a small poster near the products stand saying that cider bar and tombola were on a lower floor. Didn’t know there was a lower floor considering the number of years I’ve been there. Real ale drinkers probably wouldn’t bother venturing down there; I didn’t, and I didn’t see any obvious signs to it!!!!! Wonder what the takings at the tombola were? Next year: move the foreign beer to the lower floor, bring the cider bar and tombola up to the main bar and get rid of some of the seating; more people can stand in the space occupied by seats and tables – typed
  • Agreed, we should improve the signage. The Lower Hall was nonetheless very busy this year and tombola takings were boosted, like last year, by roving ticket sales in the Grand Hall. We were allowed two hours early on Saturday morning to clear the Lower Hall this time; last year we had to clear it on the Friday evening. The cider bar needs no scaffolding. Keeping the late-running foreign beer on the ground floor near the Grand Hall exit makes more sense and many visitors appreciate the extra seating.
  • More seats – E Surrey

More about the beers and the bars

  • Sergeant Pepper stout (Spire): yum yum yum – Herts
  • Tryst Carronade IPA: a lovely surprise – Non-member
  • Gwyntyddraig Two Trees perry: superb – SW London
  • Thornbridge Jaipur would also get my vote (besides Ascot Posh Pooch) but it’s won so many awards already. Great that you’ve ordered multiple barrels of it to keep the supply going! – Croydon & Sutton
  • A little disappointed that Downton Dark Delight, Purple Moose Dark Side of the Moose and Hop Back Entire Stout were not available Wednesday evening, but still good – N Beds
  • Re Saltaire Brewery, I travelled with two ladies who had earmarked any one of four beers from the brewery. All sold out and not available from 12 noon on Friday. Why? Poor planning at best. They were the only really fruity beers on offer! – E Sussex
  • Please order more fruit beers: the Elderflower and Raspberry Blondes beers ran out by Friday, so obviously popular with girls and boys! – Non-member
  • More mild please! – Croydon & Sutton; E Surrey
  • More London breweries; Kernel and Redemption. Local beers are good – Non-member
  • Would have liked to have seen Marble and BrewDog – N Surrey
  • Not enough Yorkshire beer – Yorkshire
  • Should include some Mr Whiteheads cider – Lincoln
  • Shame the Kriek from Verhaeghe wasn’t delivered – Non-member
  • Indeed, though we did have the Duchesse.
  • Perry on a Friday would be nice.... – Croydon & Sutton
  • Sadly, we were delivered one perry tub fewer than ordered, but one cider tub more.
  • I’ve been to pubs in London that have more draught beers on than here. Surely a few barrels can be kept back for the Friday evening session? Lucky I am a beer lover as those new to real ale or wanting to try it for the first time will probably stick to lager. A very poor advert for CAMRA and promoting real ale. Only 7 beers left at 8.30pm. Can we please rename this the Battersea Cider Festival? – Surrey/Hants Borders
  • We do plan to sell out of real ale and cider at Battersea – having any left unsold is expensive – and we have always followed national CAMRA policy in not holding beers back for Friday evenings or indeed any other festival session. The festival programme made this clear. Owing to the higher than expected admissions on the Wednesday and Thursday this year, both cask beer and cider ran out at 9.25 pm on the Friday, leaving some bottle conditioned ales and the country wines downstairs and the Belgian, Dutch and German beers upstairs. When fewer than 30 cask beers were left, the admission price had been reduced to £1; after just ten were left, admission was free. With both halls busy, we were letting one person in for one out, and telling those queuing what to expect, offering the choice of going back to the Falcon or elsewhere if they preferred.
  • I have been to the Battersea Beer Festival for several years. In the last four years I have twice picked the ‘Beer of the Festival’ (it would have been three times but, I think, two years ago you selected a beer that was very nice but, I thought, too strong for a session beer). This year I was made to feel unwelcome by a volunteer who decided, unilaterally, that tasting the beer was not the idea of the festival. Apparently I should buy too much of each selection rather than taste many – Non-member
  • Our volunteer’s decision was quite correct. Our beers are not supplied free of charge and visitors should not expect to sample more of them than they pay for. Staff registering for the next London CAMRA festival are advised, ‘Because of problems with serial tasters, we generally do not give tastes.’
  • Colour code labels on barrels! – Watford
  • Yes, we did, in accordance with the programme.
  • The haphazard racking of the ales was very confusing – Watford
  • New casks can only go up on the stillage wherever spaces become available.
  • You need more staff serving and less wandering about!! – N Beds
  • Staffing levels a bit hit and miss in various areas behind the bar on Wednesday afternoon session – Hampshire
  • Staffing was inadequate for long periods – Kingston & Leatherhead
  • As noted above, we rely on volunteers.

Measures and glasses

  • Perhaps you could mark the glasses with 1/3rd measures next year – N Herts
  • If you are going to sell beer by thirds, then it would be a good idea to provide glasses marked with a third line – Kingston & Leatherhead
  • Please have nip glasses or lines, as my enjoyment was limited by the number of ciders/perries I could sample! Thank you – Non-member
  • Please use nip (1/3 pint) or nip lined glasses so I can taste more. Otherwise go to the GABF system where every drink is a ‘taste’ – Mid-Chilterns
  • A third looks very little in a pint glass and bar staff might find it difficult not to overfill (and that would cost us), but we shall have to decide for next year if we are going to continue to sell thirds.

Other comments about food

  • Can we please have some strong cheese roll and sausage rolls – E London & City
  • A shame about lack of cheese plates + nibble plates, like in Belgium. We want cheese + pickles! Also CRISPS. We want pickled onions + gherkins + Wensleydale. Umm yummy. Goes so well with the beer. I would like a plate of at least four cheeses to go with my beer, e.g. Roquefort, Wensleydale, Stilton, St Augur, Gorgonzola. Yummy – Non-member
  • Crisps were available in the servery, to the left of the hot meals.
  • Hash browns hard as Old Harry – Non-member
  • Bigger sausages; better chips, yum yum – Member
  • Fish and chips please – Joker


  • Why the delay in opening (Thursday)? – Kingston & Leatherhead
  • Please open on time! – Member
  • How about opening on time? – Croydon & Sutton
  • I didn’t like queuing in the rain to get in – Non-member
  • Doors opened late, so we were forced to wait in the rain for 10 minutes. Why did they keep us standing in the rain before the doors opened? – SPBW
  • Joined the queue at 11.55, in at 12.22 (wet); improvement required!! (even allowing for 5 minute delay) – E London & City
  • Why only one person taking money at the door when we were all getting wet outside? – SPBW
  • At least it wasn’t snowing this year! For visitors’ safety and security, stewards’ checks need to be completed and any deficiencies remedied before we can open the doors.
  • People clearing tables should ask if things are finished: somebody took an unfinished pack of pork scratching from me – SE London
  • One complaint, can we sort out the hot water tap in the gents – Richmond & Hounslow
  • We had pointed out one badly leaking tap on the Monday but it could not be repaired in time and was therefore disconnected.
  • Disabled toilets: rolls of paper too low – Leeds
  • Disabled toilet: hand drier out of action. Rolls of paper towels too high for wheelchair users – Member
  • The downstairs toilets are a bit decrepit; perhaps the Arts Centre could do something about this for next year? – Aylesbury Vale & Wycombe
  • What is wrong with the loudspeaker system!!! From the left of the stage: garbled – SPBW
  • As a matter of course, we promise to take up all such comments with the hall managers.

Members’ discounts

  • Charge CAMRA members NOTHING!!!! – Yorkshire
  • Very, very, very disappointing! How come CAMRA members do not get a discount when it is the worst session? – Surrey/Hants Borders
  • Would be nice if there was an admission discount for CAMRA members – SE London
  • Visited Friday lunchtime 1pm; disappointing not to receive a discount (however token) as a CAMRA member. Otherwise v. well run festival – S Herts
  • You should offer CAMRA members a discount on entry (Friday, 12.00) even if it’s just a token 50p. It’s our membership fees that support these events; there really is no excuse for offering nothing – Enfield & Barnet
  • Not a penny of CAMRA’s income – membership fees or otherwise – goes into running this event. Quite the opposite: we raise funds to help CAMRA’s campaigning. This is the basis on which we are required to set our budget, including what discounts we give to CAMRA members. Like last year, we advertised members’ discounts on the Wednesday and Thursday only, and many more members chose to come on those days.
  • Where does the money go? – Non-member
  • All of the money taken on the door goes some way towards the hire of the hall. After all suppliers have been paid, surplus income from beer sales is remitted to CAMRA Ltd at St Albans.

Wishes and suggestions

  • Hope you make lots of money for Battersea Dogs + Cats! – Non-member
  • More dogs – Croydon & Sutton
  • Where are all the lady ale drinkers? Please can CAMRA encourage more females to drink ale! – Non-member
  • Too many women: women do love real ale. Charge women extra next year – Yorkshire
  • To not make a formal announcement opening the BF on Wednesday afternoon (about 3-4 pm) is very remiss. A scrolling digital sign is no substitute. There has to be a concerted effort now to find a bigger venue – SW London
  • The formal opening, this time by Greg Mulholland MP, took place at about 7 pm, as in previous years. If a bigger venue were available, it would only be viable if more staff volunteers came forward.
  • Advertising was pretty poor; the only reason I knew it was on was because I have been before. I did not see one bit of advertising! – Non-member
  • Advertising wasn’t great; could do with more/stronger advertising at other beer festivals or posters at CAMRA pubs – Non-member
  • As usual, we distributed hundreds of A2, A3 and A4 size posters and thousands of A5 flyers, as well as having the huge full colour poster up at Clapham Junction (platform 14 this time).
  • Get email addresses, then email people about next year. Great marketing strategy to get people to come back – SW London
  • You should ask for email addresses, contact numbers, etc, letting people know about what’s happening is important; lots of things you can do to get people like me turning up, email me, Thanks – email address
  • We do advertise the event on our website and in London Drinker magazine, which is also online at

And finally …

  • Too many young people. Too much TWEED. Too many Southern fairies – Yorkshire
  • Where’s that Cobbold? Ted Higgins! He knew how to keep beers properly! – Life Member

You can see the Comments about the 2010 festival at