Guy Fawkes Night 2016 – Burton-on-Trent

Every November 4th, the Burton Real Ale Society gathers at one of our (not so lucky) member’s home to roast, BBQ and fry Meat and drink copious amounts of Ale.

Even though there are hundreds of ales consumed, endless piles of food to consume – as well as live music – we have to stop short of calling it a Festival.

fawjesIt’s not officially ratified by CAMRA and, this year, it was held in my back garden. Guy Fawkes Night is fast becoming a culturally irrelevant event. The historical basis of it’s existence, although dramatic, are so far removed from the way that we appreciate Politics today – that it’s rare that anyone discusses it’s significance.

What it is, for us Real Ale drinkers in Burton, is a good excuse to light a fire, drink some fine English Ale and fill ourselves to burst with masses of roasted meat. It’s one of the events in our social calendars that I look forward to more than any other. Daylight savings have just kicked in, the Winter gloom has well and truly descended over the country and everyone is in dire need of a pick me up.

Preparations for the night began early in the week, as I was forced to assess the state of my living conditions with the clinical ideas of a house guest.

20111204-pork-shoulder - 07We’re not all bachelors in the Society (many of us are even married!) but I have been for a long time. For the most part, the state of house is pretty decent, but there are always certain items which are neglected. One of these was the oven.

Caked in the grease and detritus of a hundred roast dinners, it was in no fit state to prepare food for guests. Thankfully, I had the website of a certain Oven cleaning company ( to do all the hard work for me!

With the domestic chores out of the way, what remained was the fun part of organising such an event.

alesThe communal Society kitty would be covering the cost of the beer, but it was still up to me to buy in the selection that would be washing down the food for the 20 or so guests I was to expect on the 5th.

Knowing that we’d be eating predominantly beef and pork, I decided to opt for some strong stouts and dark brown beers – our recent trip to the Birmingham Beer Festival had, thankfully, given me some great ideas as to what to buy.

Along with the usual raft of crowd-pleasers, I perused the list of ales that we had sampled the other night and picked a couple of highlights from the boozy day in Brumtown. With the beer ordered and the meat roasting in my newly cleaned oven, all that was left to sort was the fire and the fireworks!

You can always rely on 20 or so Northerners to drink a house dry, finish all the food and nearly burn the house down.

My head ached something fierce the next day, but at least my home was still in one piece!