Page 9 - InnQuirerAutumnIssue68
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Ulverston Beer Festival behind-the-scenes
       by The Editor

                                                               InnQuirer Issue 68 - Autumn 2018
     It may look simple but setting up and running a  where each cask should go so when the casks
     beer festival like the recent Furness CAMRA  turn up, we hope they all match the beers that
     Ulverston Beer Festival takes quite a bit of  we ordered but there are always some changes
     organisation. Apart from forward planning,  and that causes problems for the printed beer
     which starts many months before the Festival,  list as that is produced the previous week and
     getting ready for the open days is quite a feat of  can’t be changed. The display and online
     organisation.                           information, however, is always up-to-date
     Everyone involved in setting up and running the  during the Festival.
     Festival is an                          Why are there changes to the beers?
     unpaid                                  Cask ale is not like commercial kegged beer –
     volunteer. The                          most small brewers work to a pattern and have
     positive side                           their range of beers available throughout the
     of this, of                                                   year but not all
     course, is that                                               beers are made at
     we all want to                                                the same time so
     do it, no-one                                                 when we order a
     is there                                                      beer, the brewer
     because their                                                 may not have that
     work                                                          beer available to
     demands it (apart from the Coronation Hall                    send at Festival time
     staff and First Aiders). The volunteers come                  – it may have run out
     from all walks of life, so bring a wide range of              or not be ready for
     skills which is the key to making it all work.                sale yet or there may
     We hire the Hall for the whole week since  be some other issue. We do get the vast
     setting-up starts on the Monday before the  majority of what we order but most years there
     Festival, the last two years meaning we gave up  are changes to a very
     our Bank Holiday! First job is to get all the  small number of beers
     equipment from where it is stored to the Hall.  supplied (and some
     That in itself is a major job, you wouldn’t believe  occasionally fail to arrive
     how much ‘stuff’ that has to be transported.  at all!)
     First major job is to make sure we have tea and  Once the beer is in place
     biscuits – just joking! It is actually getting the  on the stillage, the whole
     steel stillage racking in place ready for the  thing is covered in a
     casks. This stuff is heavy and takes a lot of effort  plastic ‘tunnel’ to contain
                             to erect safely.  the cold air blown in from
                             We put heavy    the coolers and that
                             plastic sheeting  keeps the beer at an optimum temperature. The
                             down to protect  beers on handpump are fed from casks on the
                             the floor and   floor of the stillage but the rest are poured
                             contain any     directly from the cask.
                             spillage during  Festival glasses arrive during the set-up and all
                             the Festival. Once  have to be washed – that takes some time but at
                             that is in place,  least there is a dishwasher at the Coro’ – we
                             we have to put  don’t have to do it by hand.
     the two end-cooling systems in place and these  Once the important stillage is in place, the rest
     are really heavy so that takes quite a few hands  of the work consists of building the bar and the
     to safely lift it into place.           cider bar, cleaning the beer lines, tapping the
     Now the casks are lifted into place (we have a  casks and generally getting the beer checked
     gizmo to do this – Superman was busy). This is  and ready to serve. Last job of the setup is
     where the fun starts; we have already planned  adding the posters and setting out the tables.
                                                                    continued on page 10
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