Market Bosworth Rail Ale Festival 2016 Report

MBRAF 2016 Report

After what turned out to be a full week of set up, we opened at 11am on the Friday with 83 different beers from 37 breweries, 9 of which were from Yorkshire and 9 from the Black Country, the rest were LocAle breweries plus one or two old favourites.

There were 31 different ciders and perries available over the weekend from Derbyshire, Glamorgan, Herefordshire, Somerset and Leicestershire. There was also a Pimm’s bar plus fruit wine.

The weather was ideal over all three days and hundreds turned out to try the beers and ciders and view the multitude of steam traction engines, full size and miniature, that the Battlefield Line had organised. There was also the opportunity to travel on the Battlefield Line Railway with Mkt. Bosworth station situated conveniently between the two end of line stations at Shenton and Shackerstone. Many took advantage of the free parking in Shackerstone and arrived at the festival by train.

On Saturday, to mark the 30th anniversary of the death of the Rev. Teddy Boston,who was well known and is fondly remembered in steam circles, many of the steam traction engines paraded up to Cadeby Church for a wreath laying ceremony, by Teddy’s wife Audrey.

On Sunday the Rev. David Jennings led a short service from the footplate of Teddy’s traction engine Fiery Elias, followed by entertainment by the Anker Morris Men.

The Festival Special beer was brewed for us by the Pig Pub Brewery; we called it Pixie Bitter after Teddy Boston’s own railway engine that used to run round the Rectory garden. The first beer to run out was from Ossett Brewery in Yorkshire, a 3.9% bitter called Yorkshire Blonde. Visitors were encouraged to vote for their favourite beer at the festival, this was won by Electric Landlady a 5% bitter from Bakers Dozen Brewery in Ketton. Dean, the brewer, will be receiving a certificate in due course.

Of the 730 gallons of beer we started with, there were 520 left at the end of Friday and 126 at the end of Saturday. This left 25 casks still on, just enough for Sunday, always a quieter, family day and by the close there was about 38 gallons left, representing 5% of the original. The Pimm’s bar proved popular, no doubt due to the good weather and extra supplies had to be brought in for Sunday.

Dr. Busker again performed on the Friday and Saturday evenings, both times to a packed Goods Shed.

The CAMRA membership desk was kept busy with fourteen new members signing up over the weekend.

My thanks must go to Adrian Lock and his team at the Battlefield Line for providing such an atmospheric location for a beer festival and for organising a splendid array of interesting engines and machinery. I must also thank all of the 43 CAMRA members who volunteered to help build the festival, serve behind the bars and then knock it all down. Some worked much longer hours than originally intended but without them the event would not have taken place.

Alan Cooke
H&B CAMRA Festival Organiser


On a warm and sunny September day, Alan Cooke (Festival Organiser) and I took the train to Stamford to visit the Jolly Brewer pub and present a certificate to the winner of the Market Bosworth “Beer of the Festival”, viz. Baker’s Dozen Brewery for their 5.0% bitter, “Electric Landlady”.

Dean Baker, who runs The Jolly Brewer in Stamford with his partner Jill, opened the brewery in Ketton in July 2015 and shortly afterwards Electric Landlady won Beer of the Festival at the Rutland Beer Festival in Oakham. Apart from the Jolly Brewer, other outlets for the beers now include pubs in Stamford and several beer festivals. Dean is an enthusiastic brewer and has created recipes for up to twenty different beers. He explained the origin of the name “Electric Landlady”: it refers to a miss-spelling on the record cover of the album Electric Ladyland by the Jimi Hendrix Experience! He also brews a beer called “Jentacular”; this name comes from the Latin jentaculum which can be loosely translated as a breakfast eaten immediately you get up. Naming of beers is becoming an art of its own!

The hospitality shown to us by Dean and Jill was excellent and included a superb home cooked lunch. We left the Jolly Brewer with enough time to visit one or two other Stamford pubs on our route back to the station. We called in at the All Saints’ Brewery, a Samuel Smith's pub and restored Victorian working steam brewery (known as Melbourn Bros) which produces award winning specialised fruit beers. This is worth a visit just to admire the wonderfully restored interior. Leaving here and walking towards the church brought us to the King’s Head, a two roomed free house dating back to the early 1800’s. There was a good choice of ales here and the landlord, being a keen beer enthusiast, told us of his ambitions to improve and widen the choice. This is one of the outlets for Baker’s Dozen beers. And so we left for the station to leave Stamford, a town described as “England’s most attractive” by John Betjeman and as “the English country market town par excellence” by Nicholas Pevsner.

David Finn
Branch Chairman