7th Halifax Mayfest

Halifax Chapel Square Arts Centre

Saturday 9 May 2009

The fast train from Wakefield to Leeds takes 15 minutes and the slow one 25. That is except for the hourly departure that takes two hours and travels via Huddersfield, Brighouse, Halifax and Bradford. It was the 15:29 train that t'wife and I took on Saturday 9 May to visit the 7th Halifax Mayfest. The train follows different rivers and canals on its journey and passes typical northern end-of-industry landscapes, cleared factory sites, mills turned to apartments and new retail parks on the outskirts of towns.

The train ride gave me time to reflect on the recent Farnham Beerex, an event I've visited for a number of years. Part of a sport and beer weekend, Friday involves an early train from home to Farnham, a game of golf followed by an evening in the pubs of Farnham with TM. Saturday finds me in the beer festival for the Saturday lunch session followed by a pizza with TM and the other guys. The weekend ends with a mid-morning train home on Sunday. This year was slightly different in that I was able to attend the Thursday evening session, work commitments having brought me down south earlier in the day. I must say the Thursday evening session is a lot less frantic that the Saturday lunch one and beer is a lot livelier. Furthermore, rather than things fading at Saturday teatime, TM and I were playing snooker in Aldershot at 10:00 PM on Saturday evening. All in all, an excellent weekend.

T'wife and I first visited the Mayfest (http://www.hxcalderdalecamra.org.uk/mayfest_2009.htm) last year and decided we couldn't miss this one if at all possible. The event is held on Friday and Saturday at the Halifax Square Chapel Arts Centre, well situated only 100 hundred yards from the town's railway station. The centre was built as a chapel in the late 18th century and is an imposing red-brick building with a single large room on the first floor used for plays etc. That room held one long bar while food was served downstairs.

According to the programme there were 65 beers produced by 35 breweries 15 of which are located within 15 miles of the festival. The furthest brewery is from Somerset. There was a choice of half or pint glasses (with a half-pint marker), both returnable with a pound refundable deposit. The typical price was 1.10 per half. It's important to say 'According to the programme'; because when we arrived at around 17:00 we were warned there wasn't much beer left and in the event we decided to leave at 19:00 because there was really very little left. Anyway, t'wife decided to drink beer rather than the wine she normally does so we looked for light bitters and were lucky to have:

Brewery Beer %
Hawkshead Bitter 3.7
Breconshire Welsh Pale Ale 4.4
Empire Valour 4.3
Ramsbury Bitter 3.8
Brown Cow Spring Rye 4.4
Blue Monkey Amber Ale 3.6

It was a great shame beer ran out, all were very good and the centre is a nice place to sit and drink. Instead back to Wakefield, into Fernandes (Staropranen for t-wife, Franziskaner for me), a curry at Red Chili and home.

Attended by:
JA and LA (hereinafter referred to as t'wife)