AFTER three years in a marquee in Cemetery Park, off Cemetery Road, organisers of the Steel City Beer and Cider Festival were confident that mud would no longer be a problem.
Having switched to Ponds Forge, they could not have envisaged that this year’s event would have coincided with the hottest October on record.
“It was very, very warm – a complete contrast to the last three years,” said organiser Dave Williams. “Once beer is warm, it is very hard to bring the temperature down. There is no way of putting things in place at such short notice in such extreme temperatures.”
Yet there would have been similar, if not worse, difficulties if the festival had stayed in Cemetery Park and the beer had been kept under canvas.
About 4,000 people went to the event, the 37th and the biggest, which featured 185 different real ales, plus continental beers and 30 ciders. Some travelled from as far as Birmingham and Peterborough.
The attendance was up on last year but Dave added: “We didn’t get the numbers we thought we would get because of, I think, the weather. But it did OK and it’s a fantastic venue. I think we’ll be staying there. I don’t think we’ll be seeing those temperatures again in October!”
The festival was organised by a team of 12, plus 80 volunteers from among the 1,200-strong local membership of the Campaign for Real Ale. They took four days to convert the Ponds Forge sports hall into a drinking venue.
Bradfield Brewery’s Farmers Blond won the award of Beer of Sheffield, while Thornbridge Brewery’s Raven black IPA was named Beer of the Festival.