The 7th Chorlton Beer & Cider Festival once again saw drinkers descend on St Clements Church in their thousands, drinking the festival dry 45 minutes before planned closing on Saturday night.
Organisers ordered 20% more beer, cider & perry than in 2010 but even torrential rain on opening night, Friday 8th July, could not drive the Chorlton community away. Over 3000 pints of ale & 800 of traditional cider & perry were sold on Friday alone, at a rate of almost 15 pints a minute.
Visitors had the choice of 40 locally brewed beers from the CAMRA LocAle bar plus a further 22 sourced from outside of the local area on the second bar opposite. The LocAle selection included festival specials "Clement Summer" from Macclesfield's Bollington Brewery and "STout CLEMENT", brewed by the Bootleg Brewing Company just 200m down St Clements Road at The Horse & Jockey pub.
A new bar layout, including a bank of 9 handpumps for the first time at Chorlton Festival gave more space in the beer hall for thirsty drinkers to choose their beers.Once again the Youth Centre hosted the real cider and perry bar along with the foreign beer bar while the live music was performed al fresco in the grounds.
The opening of Chorlton's Metrolink line just one day before the festival helped bring many visitors from further to the festival on Saturday, with people travelling from as far away as York & Wolverhampton, as well as all over Greater Manchester, to attend. After the terrible weather on opening night, the Saturday was a complete contrast with visitors basking in the summer sun with live jazz accompaniment.
By the end of the festival had drunk 6500 pints of ale plus 1800 of cider and perry drunk along with hundreds of bottles of specialist continental beers. By the time the beer ran out at 9.47 on Saturday evening, thousands of pounds had been raised to support St Clement's Community Rooms campaign. Phase 1 of this campaign will see new disabled toilets, refurbishment of existing facilities and rewiring to the church buildings that are used by many local community groups from 9am to 9pm most days. By Sunday morning, Rector Ken Flood was able to confirm that thanks to the success of the festival he would be able to sign the orders for the first bank of work to commence immediately.
Drinkers voted Rum Porter from Newton Heath's Boggart Brewery as Beer of The Festival. This classic porter with a smooth roast finish & just a hint of dark rum triumphed in what turned out to be a very close vote. Ironically, the silver medal position went Dunham Massey's 7.2% "Gold". Gwatkins Stoke Red was named Cider of the Festival with the Perry title going to Moore's Perry.