“The World’s Biggest Real Ale Festival” – Really?

We visited our local Wetherspoons, the Glass Maker in Nailsea with some friends to sample some ales from “The World’s Biggest Real Ale Festival”.

Wetherspoons appear to take this seriously and offer a glossy tasting notes booklet and the opportunity to try three ales in suitably-sized glasses for the price of a festival pint.  We managed to try a few beers.  I tried Avery 3.5 Session Ale (3.5 ABV) from Colorado, USA. This was a lovely citrussy, clean-tasting beer that was full of flavour for its strength.

I also sampled Banks Howling Wolf (3.8 ABV) a dark mild from the West Midlands.  This had good malty flavour with a bite on the finish.

The third beer on the tasting tray was Caledonian Devil’s Advocate, an interesting Scottish cask lager, with fruitiness, dark malt flavours of chocolate, coffee and vanilla.

We were looking forward to trying a greater variety of beers. However, there were only three festival beers available.  We were told by the duty manager that the three further beers on display, whilst ready to serve, would only become available after the beers currently being served sold out.  Apparently, this policy is designed to prevent any risk of wastage.

I wrote to Wetherspoons suggesting that this policy defeats the object of promoting their beer festival, namely to offer the opportunity to try a variety of beers in one third of a pint measures and it differs from other Wetherspoons outlets nearby.  I asked whether this was National policy or unique to the Glass Maker?

I received a polite letter a couple of weeks later apologising, promising an internal investigation and that action would be taken.

Watch this space! The friends we were with also encountered a similar situation in the Wetherspoons in Paisley. Anyone else had a similar experience?

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