Like most boys when little I was a big fan of Thomas the Tank Engine! Fast forward 20 odd years and I am having a beer with him!
Chappel beer festival is my favourite beer festival all year round, there may be bigger beer festivals out there but for me its all about the surroundings. You don’t have to be a 5 year old kid or a train spotter to enjoy sitting in an old train carriage drinking beer freshly poured from a brewery bar inside a train cart!
For those who have never heard of Chappel and Wakes Colne train station (and to be honest I wouldn’t be surprised if you hadn’t!) it is unstaffed station for the Essex country village towns of Chappel and Wakes Colne, the station itself is actually in Wakes Colne. Chappel and Wakes Colne isn’t just your average train station though it is home to the East Anglian Railway Musuem, a living example of Victorian restored trains, buildings, carriages and signal box’s which gives us a visual insight to railway life from the 1840 to present day.
6 days in September this educational rail museum for all is transformed into a huge beer festival, instead of Thomas the Tank and his friends sleeping in the huge rail sheds you will have many beer barrels stacked upon each other ready for consumption.
Not quite as hot as last years festival but still when it was having a little down pour of rain it was fairly warm. As usual in the field next to the station there were all your food needs including Thai food, BBQ, curry, German Sausages and pastries among other things. For those who are not looking to cure their hunger then maybe the temptation of a little flutter can bring you to the fields, ferret racing! To raise money for their charity they race ferrets for children (and big children) which is always fun and being the mastermind gambler that I am I even came away a winner!
Last year we watched some incredible Morris Dancers but we didn’t seem to see them this year and another massive loss to this years festival was no Podge! It was a real shame not to see the lovely Podge Beer Bar and indulge in our beer buddys from oversea’s brews! Not to say that the brews on offer would not do…. the opposite we had many incredible beers through out the day. The Saturday is the last day and I always worry about a last day of a festival in case the selection is really low, we didn’t have that problem this time although I noticed a lot of the lighter golden ales had already been drunk before I was there which meant the core selection was mainly porters and milds …. something I love so no problem for me! Of course the heavy hitters Green Jack – Baltic Trader and Pitfield – 1896 Vintage Stock Ale at +10% was no where to be found but I expected that.
Other beers that are worth of a mention are Exmoor Ales – Dark Horse 6.6%, Colchester – Brazilian 4.6%, Shalfords – Rottern End 6.5% Shalfords – Levelly Black Stout 4.8% and Bartrams – Comrade Bill Bartrams 6.9%.
Unlike previous beer festivals me and the other half actually had a bit of a dance and partied inside the Salfords brewery tent which was a good laugh!
If you have never been to the Chappel beer festival then I suggest you pencil it down for next year I am sure you will love it as much as I do!
*Some photos I have used was from the year before as well!!!