Friday 25th February 2011
Just after it had opened at 16.00 on a murky Friday afternoon with a sea mist clinging to the cliffs, we descended free of charge (a CAMRA perk) on the funicular to the lower station house where the beer festival was held. It was a very small area with just a few seats.
Because space was needed for a band one of the lift's cars was not in passenger use as the musicians blocked the entrance door. This caused an interesting side effect. The lift works by weight, so normally once all the passengers are in the cars at top and bottom, a small amount of water is pumped into the upper car until the weight of it is enough to pull the other up as they are attached by a cable which goes around a wheel at the top. Because, sometimes, the bottom car was full and the top one was empty, due to the band in front of the door, we watched vast amounts of water go into the tank of the top car just to get it moving. You have to see it to appreciate it all.
Back from Victorian engineering to the beer festival itself, the following were on offer: Abigale Samphire Bitter, Canterbury Ales The Wife of Bath's Ale, The Reeve's Ale, The Miller's Ale and, from the Farrier's Arms brewpub, Farriers 1606.
From our local Kent Cider Company there is Oak Matured Russet Bramley, and a Winter Warmer Spiced Cider.
Well worth the visit but a bit too crowded. Maybe the trustees of the lift would consider holding a festival in a marquee on the green at the top of the cliff.
There are two beer festivals a year and details can be obtained from the website: www.theleasliftbeerfestival.co.uk