Beer festival brimming with success

St John's Church first beer festival. Alan Hoggard, John Ingle, Peter Cartwright, Graham Readshaw, Eric Ogden and Roger Ellis
St John's Church first beer festival. Alan Hoggard, John Ingle, Peter Cartwright, Graham Readshaw, Eric Ogden and Roger Ellis

DELIGHTED organisers of a ground breaking beer festival were raising their glasses this week to toast its runaway success.

The first Rastrick Beer Festival, held last Friday and Saturday in St John’s Church community hall, off Gooder Lane, attracted large numbers of real ale fans from various parts of Calderdale and from as far away as York.

So pleased were the organisers with the support and response the event received they have revealed they are already planning to stage another one next year and say they would like to make it a regular feature on the events calendar of Brighouse.

“We have learned a lot from this first one. It has been a steep learning curve for all of us, but this has given us a good grounding for future festivals,” said chairman of the organising committee, Roger Ellis.

He said they were delighted with the large numbers who turned up on the two days the festival was held, adding that as well as packing the hall the visitors also took advantage of the recent Mediterranean weather to fill the chairs and candle lit tables which had been arranged on the lawns outside.

“We are all absolutely delighted with the support it has received from the local community, our sponsors and local brewers. People have travelled from a long way away, some from as far away as York, and I know that the local railway station has played an important role in helping to get people here,” said Roger.

“A lot of hard work and commitment has been put into making this festival a success and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved for everything they have done.”

The festival offered 20 national and local ales as well as a number of ciders and perrys, food was also on offer and in addition there was live music on Saturday night.

And at the end of the event the organisers announced that the festival’s two most popular beers were Saltaire Brewery’s Raspberry Blonde, a blonde ale infused with a hint of raspberries, and Midnight Bell, a full bodied premium dark mild from the Leeds Brewery.

Roger explained it had been staged with a view to supporting small and micro breweries in these difficult economic times and he believed it was the first beer festival to be held in Brighouse not run by a pub.

The festival was run, he said, to raise money not only for the church but for other local charities as part of the church’s giving policy.

But he was not able to say at this stage just how much had been raised because some monies were still coming in.

“But it will go to three things. Towards local charities, improvements to the community hall and for church funds,” added Roger.