OKTOBERFEST organisers have linked up with Huddersfield’s Sikh community to fuse two of Britain’s favourite treats – beer and curry.
The Huddersfield Oktoberfest Beer & Cider Festival 2009 kicked off last night at the Sikh Leisure Centre in Springwood.
Not only were there 84 real ales and 18 rare ciders on offer, but in a Huddersfield Oktoberfest first, curry was also served.
Notable brews on tap included Pheasant Plucker, Mad Goose, Hop Stock & Barrel and Hung, Drawn and Portered.
Organiser, David Charlesworth, said they had outgrown St Patrick’s Irish Centre, the venue for the last few years, and had found the Sikh Leisure Centre to be a more suitable size.
And he said the tie in with the centre, soon to be renamed the APNA centre, would also help break down preconceptions about alcohol and the Sikh religion.
He added: “It’s fantastic, we’ve got a lot of local breweries.
“Mallinsons have done two specials and dedicated one for the Sikh centre called the Springwood Special.
“Empire, Riverhead, Golcar, Summerwine, they’re all here.
“Even Nook Brewery from Holmfirth is here and they’ve only been brewing for a month or two.”
Balbir Uppal Singh, leisure centre chief, said he loved the German beer festival.
He said: “I’ve been to Oktoberfest, many many years ago, it was really fantastic.
“We’re really grateful to Huddersfield Campaign for Real Ale for thinking of the Sikh Leisure Centre.
“Many people think we’re a religious place but we’re not, we’ve got a full bar.
“We’d like this to be the first of many.”
Mark Davies, chairman of the Huddersfield branch of the Campaign for Real Ale, which organised the event, said the larger size of the Sikh Leisure Centre had allowed them to put on an even bigger festival.
“It’s a much better venue for us, we’ve got 15 or 20 more beers than last year and we’ve got room to expand in the future.”
Clr Mohan Sokhal, who is also the chair of the Sikh Leisure Centre management committee, said he had never been to an Oktoberfest before.
He said: “I’m really excited to see this one happening in the Sikh Leisure Centre.”
Ale fan, Andy Anderson, from Halifax, said: “There’s light beer, dark beer; and there’s plenty of room to see the barrels and get to the bar.”
The Oktoberfest runs from noon until 11pm today and from 11am to 11pm on Saturday. Admission: £3.