The Castle in Walthamstow has just hosted what might be the model beer festival.
The pub, which has struggled to attract the same crowds as its sister pub the Nag’s Head around the corner, was absolutely packed tonight.
The landlord was quite emotional: “I never expected it to be this popular. We’ll definitely be doing another one. And I’m going to get more real ales on the bar.”
Here’s what worked:
1. Let the local CAMRA types choose the beers and run the festival bar — “leave it to the experts,” as the landlord said.
2. Keep the selection small. There were about 10 beers, which is just the right amount. We tried almost all of them and didn’t leave wondering what we’d missed.
The CAMRA people running the bar were friendly and plainly delighted to be doing good trade. The rest of the pub was full of locals who were just intrigued to try something new.
If you can, pop down tomorrow (there won’t be any beer left on Sunday). Otherwise, keep your eyes peeled and come to the next Castle beer festival.