Last weekend we popped along to the Peakender Festival, set at Thornbridge Outdoors near Bakewell. We’d booked camping for this last November and had been looking forward to it for months!
Peakender, now in it’s third year, is a three day festival of beer curated by Thornbridge Brewery. We set up camp in the grounds of Thornbridge Hall, a picturesque setting near Bakewell and only a five minute walk away from the festival site. We found ourselves amongst friends and surrounded by families (beer festivals and children together don’t always spring to mind), but this was billed as a family festival, as there was plenty for families to do. The camp site was spacious and even the facilities weren’t that bad – the loos were clean and the showers (I’m told) were hot.
The beer festival itself was set across the road from our campsite, in the grounds of Thornbridge Outdoors. After a quick scout around we found ourselves at the bar, purchasing a special Thornbridge glass for £1 and a ream of beer tokens. The bar was long and spacious, although this did prove problematic when it rained as it was one of two covered areas within the site, the other was a small marquee that played host to music, both DJ and acoustic sets.
Beer wise there was plenty of choice, especially if you are a fan of Thornbridge ales. There were a number of other breweries there including Magic Rock, Beavertown and Tiny Rebel. Those in search of their perfect pint, were certainly able to find one or two to suit their needs. There was also a bottle bar, this again sold a range of beers either for take out or to drink there and then, we found this especially useful when we fancied a bit of quiet time and wanted to head back to the tent. The main problem we found was the rotation of beers, as there were no times when beers would be changed or rotated. Thornbridge do a great range of beers but at events like this you want to try something different, saying that the bar staff were great in giving tasters out and with their suggestions.
Over the weekend there were a range of activities to do – a lot for families but there were also a number of ‘meet the brewer’ events and tasting sessions. One of the tasting sessions really took my fancy and that was by the team behind the Robin of Locksley gin. The talk discussed the history of gin, a brief overview of how to make gin, the botanicals used and we even got to try a few samples – I have to admit I haven’t added the Robin of Locksley gin to my collection as yet, but I will be.
Food wise, as we camped we’d taken enough food to feed pretty much half the campsite but still we were taken with some of the food stalls available. My favourite stall was Pie Eyed, amazing pies at a really good price whilst our Gary was taken with Percy and Lily’s sausage. The pizza by the Nether Edge Pizza company looked awesome too, although at times the queues were ridiculous, which proved how popular they were!!
Overall there were good and bad points to the festival, I’ve listed them here:
- The staff were awesome, despite it being rammed at the bar at times they were helpful and cheerful.
- It’s close to home, only 30 minutes away from where I live.
- Great connections if you’re just going for the day, as there’s a free shuttle bus from Bakewell.
- Plenty of talks and beer events which had to be pre-booked and did fill up quickly.
- Events for families – although the weather did play havoc with these at times.
- Beautiful setting despite the weather at times.
- The beers were hand pulled and keg beers and the bottle bar was a huge plus.
- It was a laid back and relaxing weekend.
- It rained hard, it was muddy – there should’ve been hay put down to help with this.
- Mainly Thornbridge beers, would have helped to know when beers were being rotated etc as some unpopular beers were on all weekend.
- Not enough shelter from the rain – only the main bar and the music marquee.
- The beer tokens stuck together!
All in all, it was a great weekend…would I go again? Yes, but I’d probably just go for the day and I’d nip into Bakewell and pick up a proper pudding!