Sherfield Beer Festival

There is a theory that civilisation and society only came together and unified their tribes in the pursuit of brewing beer. That’s debatable but one thing that is for certain is that this summer beer will be bringing people together here in this heavenly slice of Hampshire, as we’re delighted to announce the return of the much-loved Sherfield Beer Festival.

 

CommunityAd were delighted to speak to Ian Sellars who has been involved with the festival since 2016 and since 2018 has ‘had the pleasure of leading the organisation’ as Beer Festival Chairman. The pandemic halted any chance of celebratory sips in 2020 and 2021 but on Saturday 24th September at Sherfield-on-Loddon Village Hall Ian promises the Beer Festival will be back with a bang.

 

Why should readers come along? It’s so much more than beer, isn’t it?

Oh yes, it is, so much more than just beer! It has become very much a family day out and that was important to the organising committee. What we didn’t want was an excuse for people to just get together and just drink real ale. We also now have 10 – 12 different ciders as well as the beer – I didn’t realise how many ladies like a glass of cider. There is also a small bar for those who prefer not to drink beer or cider where guests can purchase a lager or perhaps a glass of wine, soft drinks and tea/coffee. Responding to feedback from previous events, this year we are hoping to lay on a “Gin and Prosecco Bar” for those with the slightly more refined palate.

There is live music in the Village Hall Garden from midday until about 10pm. The music varies throughout the day with different genres, often kicking off with Basingstoke Concert Band, followed by rock, pop & folk – usually 5 different bands. When they are available, we have Basing Clog come along and they perform and encourage our guests to join in their traditional dance and there is a visiting Face Painter for the children (and often the adults too!!). We provide a wide selection of reasonably priced hot and cold food throughout the day. From 6pm – 11pm we also offer a complimentary mini bus which runs between The Hall and Bramley Railway Station and The Hall and Sherfield Park so we can get our guests to the event and, more importantly, home again, safely.

 

That being said what beer or drink are you most looking forward to?

In truth, it’s the glass of whisky I enjoy about midnight at home at the end of the day. Whilst I enjoy a pint as much as the next person, as one of the organisers, one does need one’s wits about them throughout the day. Yes, I do sample a couple of halves of the various beers early(ish) in the day but then move on to the soft drinks. I need to be extra careful as I live a little way outside of the village and when it’s all done and dusted at about 11pm I have to drive home.

 

How long have you lived in the Sherfield-on-Loddon area?

My career brought me to North Hampshire in 1993 and we moved to Sherfield-on-Loddon in August 2010. I retired in 2014 and my wife, Alison, retired in 2019 so we spend most of our time looking after our Victorian house and a 2-acre garden as well as spending as much time as we can with our three grandchildren. As well as the village hall events, Alison and I also volunteer at The Vyne (Local National Trust).

 

What makes it such a pleasant place to live?

There is a real sense of community. As I mentioned previously, we live a little way outside of the village so our involvement with The Village Hall, The Fete, The Beer Festival, the monthly Sunday Markets and other events brings us into the village and into that community. The success of the recent Jubilee Celebrations only goes to underline the importance to everyone of the community spirit.

 

Are you in need of volunteers at all, if so, how can readers get involved?

We are always in need of volunteers. This event doesn’t just happen by magic. My committee of 6 can plan all the details leading up to the event but on the day, what helps make the event such a success is the army of volunteers who turn up and work to make it happen. From staffing the gate, selling tokens, serving the beer & cider, working behind the small bar, helping with the preparation and serving of the food and a million and one other things, it’s the volunteers that make it happen – and remember the event runs from midday until 11pm – 11 hours.

Now, we don’t expect our lovely volunteers to work for 11 hours, what we ask is one 2-hour shift – or more if possible – throughout the day. Each 2-hour shift is rewarded with a pint and a half’s worth of free beer tokens. If any of your readers would like to volunteer for a 2-hour shift (or more) they can send me their email address and telephone number (mobile preferably) to [email protected] or Text/WhatsApp it to me on 07889 364722. I can then include them on the volunteer list and they will receive communications nearer the time – but for now put the date in their calendars – Saturday 24th September.

 

Anything else you’d like to add at all?

As well as volunteers, there is the opportunity for local businesses to get involved through sponsorship. Why not sponsor a barrel of ale (£50) or a box of cider (£20)?  Maybe “sponsor a band” for £100. All sponsorships mean that the business name will be seen by 600+ people on the day and will be mentioned on the social media bulletins and communications as appropriate. Again, if any of your local businesses would like to sponsor part of the event then contact me on [email protected] and I’ll connect them with the appropriate committee member.

 

For more info head to the Sherfield Beer Festival website.

by Dave McKenna

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