Recently I joined CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale), a volunteer organisation that isn’t typically the kind of thing a student would join, but I’m hoping to change that! My membership pack arrived just in time for the Beer Festival down on the Ipswich waterfront, allowing me free entry with my membership card.
At the festival, which was situated just outside Athena Hall, I met a few other volunteers including event organiser Nigel Smith. I’ve been invited to attend a local branch meeting during September, and I’m hoping to get involved as an ‘Under-26’ member in any way I can, alongside completing my final year at university with my dissertation.
Cult Café Bar opened at the start of the beer festival, and I had a Die Werken hot dog. I must say it was de-licious! I hope there’s more where that came from! The beer festival ran from Thursday 22 August to Monday 26 August, with the Ipswich Maritime Festival on Saturday and Sunday. Friday night, I met up with a few mates, including Rajat who had specially made the trip up to Ipswich from London, so that we could hang out together and drink Real Ale!
From the Friday until the Sunday, I drank a lot of ale and I enjoyed every glass. For me the experience was in the tasting, but I’m sure my mates were just here to get drunk… Nevertheless, we all had a taste of different and tongue-twisting beers, which was followed by a lads night out… and this all resulted in us waking up on Saturday morning wondering ‘what on earth happened last night?’
The Maritime Festival arrived with a few gunshots on Saturday, where a display of soldiers showed how to fire a rifle properly (and loudly). These displays were helped by stalls showing what life would have meant for people living in Ipswich when the glorious, ‘Little-Monaco’ waterfront was once a working port.
It was a weekend well-drunk. I brought away a souvenir glass and I hopped from one ship to another, breathing-in the smell of the oak masts, when the Scandinavian vessels sailed into Ipswich waterfront for the Maritime Festival. While I waited for the fireworks display on Sunday night, I had a lovely meal at the Salthouse hotel. The quality was superb!
The fireworks lit up the water and the night sky. The university buildings reflected the light in all angles. I enjoyed the fireworks, and laughed along with everyone else when a car alarm went off on the last bang…
It was a fantastic weekend full of thrills and spills. Cheers!
[UPDATE]: for those interested, the ales I had were: Brecon Brewing’s Red Beacon, Burton Bridge’s Burton Porter, Ipswich Dove St Inn’s Elderflower blonde, Earl Soham’s Sir Roger Porter, Elland’s Nettlethrasher, Palmers’ Tally Ho, Pather’s Ginger Panther, Titanic’s Plum Porter (which was excellent), and finally Woodfordes’ Nog. NB: I only had half-pints, meaning I could try more beers without committing fully (with a pint) to a beer that I might not like.