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Well that's it. The Guardian Hay Festival has been and gone fore another year. Hay on Wye has a population of approx. 1800. Over 10 days people come from far and wide to see and listen to famous authors such as Nick Clegg and Stephen Fry, with the occasional celebrity thrown in. If you look hard enough, you might actually find some real authors. But I sometimes wonder how good they are at public speaking. I've never been to an event, but just because your very good at putting words on paper doesn't mean your very good at speaking to 1000 people. Perhaps that's why the literature part of the festival, the reason it was created, seems to be sidelined more and more each year. Just my musings, that's all.

Anyway, the beery bits. Best day for pints sold was almost a draw between the Saturday and Sunday on Bank Holiday. I haven't got the figures right infront of me, but Sunday was an even 360 pints of ale and 60 of scrumpy, slightly less on the Saturday (about 354 and 58 I think). Perhaps I had been a bit cocky, but locally we have a good reputation for always changing the guest ales. Occasionally I'll buy 2 firkins of something, if I think it's going to sell really well or it's on an extremely good offer.

I'd kept to this over the bank holiday. I knew we'd be busy, but Butty Bach and Kilvert's Gold are the two best sellers, so I thought nothing of lining up the ales and having in stock what I thought would be a good week's worth of guest ales.

Saturday was the best day we've had since taking the pub on. Food flying out, occasionally the waiting times got up to an hour (for half an hour every check had either fish or scampi on it creating a bit of a backlog). In the evening, the restaurant was full and we were turning tables like nobody's business. In the bar, we ran out of glasses. We then ran out of the back up glasses. We then ran out of the emergency back-up glasses I'd got in just for festival. 4 people behind the bar, serving. I know this doesn't sound like much to some people, but normally I'd have 1 bar staff on. 2 on at weekends in summer. So 4 + a glass washer person and running out of glasses was a big thing.

The festival started on Thursday. By Saturday night each guest ale pump had had at least 3 guest ales on it. My entire stock of Kilvert's Gold had been depleted. So Saturday night I called the Head Brewer down at Breconshire to see what he could do for me on a bank holiday Sunday morning.

Monday morning I took the picture above - except for Butty Bach (which thankfully I'd ordered 18s of, and plenty of them) every pump was a Breconshire ale (the Boondoggle had run out). A big, big thank you to Breconshire brewery for helping out so willingly.

I had a couple of casks of Fast Cask EPA - I wanted to do more research on the Fast Cask system and try out a relatively new ale (whether it's a re-badged ale from years gone by I have no idea - to me it was new!). The Fast cask system let me down. After half an hour particles of yeast were still in any beer I poured out the cask. It did drop bright after a Brecon ale had come to the rescue, and tasted fine - more on that in another blog.

The rest of the week was a bit more manageable. Ale's matched sales of lager, and I bumped into Francis Pryor.

Such a nice bloke, relaxing with some BBC people with a couple of pints. I came out the kitchen to be told by bar staff there was 'some bloke with a beard who's a brewer who really likes Kilvert's Gold'. Intrigued, I went out to find out more. Now, I don't watch a lot of T.V. or have an interest in celebrities in general. In all honestly, I rarely get enough time to spend with my family or friends, so I didn't have a clue who this bloke was. I can't remember much, being absolutely shattered, but he used to work in a brewery in London on the tasting panel, checking each gyle was the same as the last. He certainly knew his stuff, and it was only when somebody asked to take his picture with he new book I twigged he was in Hay to give a talk and made the effort to find out who he was.

One thing is for certain though. I won't be running the kitchen and the bar throughout festival. It's just to much. By then I should be running the bar and the brewery, and leave somebody else behind first bench from 7am til 11pm each day!

Right, I'm off. Got to get ready for a weekend in Cardiff, starting with an AWIB meeting and continuing with a certain beer festival. If it's on, having seen a couple of things that really opened my eyes!

Anyway, Cheers!