I'm not sure that this belongs here.
It's nostalgia all right, but of a rather recent vintage, and it certainly doesn't fall under the heading of "childish things".
Ho hum. Never mind. Let's get all dewy-eyed and tearful about a beer festival. The Midlands is graced with many fine beer festivals - Wolverhampton is in two days. There are many others scattered through the year Stourbridge, Birmingham, Walsall and such, not to mention a host of pub-based festivals including the splendid garden festival at the Black Eagle.
What there isn't, what there hasn't been for ten years, is the beer festival at Dudley Castle which for me was the high point of the season. There have been other Dudley beer festivals but they're not the same.
Initially it took place in a park in two large tents, with entertainment provided by various bands on a mobile stage. When the weather was poor it was still a great day out; when the sun was shining it was magnificent.
And then they made it better.
Dudley is a town that is fortunate in having a castle. It's ruined now and it is part of the grounds of Dudley Zoo but it is still impressive, perched on the hill, overlooking the town. The beer festival moved into one of the large courtyards for the last few years of its existence.
From that moment as well as great beer, great bands and great organisation it had great surroundings. The ruins of the castle walls towered above the tents and stages, surrounding and protecting them. There can be no finer experience on Earth than holding a pint of frothing ale, brewed as it has been for centuries, standing in the summer sun, surrounde by history, listening to a blues guitarist as the plantive music echoes from the ancient walls.
And then one year it was gone. Aftermath of the foot and mouth outbreak, they said. And then the next year it was still gone. Double booked venue, they said. And it never came back. There were plenty of others, even others in Dudley, but drinking in a hot dark hall simply can't compare. Even drinking the small but carefully chosen selection in the Black Eagle's beer garden, lovely thoug it is, can't compare.
I miss the festivals at the castle. And I don't think they'll ever be coming back.