The Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre lived up to its name this weekend allowing visitors to see a variety of crafts, old vehicles, the full open-air museum in the old Chalk Pits, Morris Dancing, and the main attraction, an Ale Fair.
There is a strong move a foot in the UK to preserve and resurrect Real Ales or Cask Ales (look them up), and Amberley played its part this weekend with the Ale Fair, at which 50 breweries and 70 ales and ciders were available for testing and consumption. Most of these were traditional English and Welsh ales.
A great many serious ale connoisseurs were present, and spent their time studying the information on the brews before tasting them. Some colourful characters were present, and it was clear that many take the business of beer or ale fairs very seriously.
Brews with colourful names like ‘Staggering Genius,’ ‘Pendle Witches Brew,’ ‘Granny Wouldn’t Like It’ and ‘Proper Job’ vied for attention, and early on the barrels of the obviously popular brews like ‘Desert Rats,’ and ‘Snuffy Jacks’ ran dry, and stood on the racks like fallen soldiers, with red crosses drawn through the labels, signalling their demise.
The season of Fairs at which the wonderful skills of the brewers, handed down through the centuries, are showcased, is upon us. Long may they continue.