For many of us, there’s nothing quite like sinking a cool pint on a Friday evening after a long week at work. But if you’re tired of the bland processed beers of the big brewers and are looking for something a little tastier come knocking off time, say no to Mr Fosters and Monsieur Artois this weekend and opt for a glass of thoroughbred real ale. The UK is blessed with over 1,000 different real ale brewers, each producing a handful of distinctive, naturally brewed ales that are bursting with locally grown, traditional ingredients. Sadly, many pubs no longer serve proper British beer, so finding them can sometimes be a little tricky. That’s why, Sykes Cottages have come up with a shortlist of some of the best real ale festivals taking place around the UK over the coming weeks, where you’ll be able to sip, scrutinise and savour hundreds of real ales. And where better to start our real ale odyssey than with the home of Sykes HQ, Chester.
Chug! Chug! Chug! In Chester
Head down to The Guildhall in Chester this weekend and treat yourself to a lavish offering of 50+ ales at the 2013 Chester Real Ale Festival. Organisers have amassed a superb stockpile of local and national beers for thirsty revellers to enjoy, including the Kelham Island Wild Rider, Wentworth Yankee Doodle and Liverpool Organic Pale Ale. Plus, there’ll be hot food, live music and ample space for a good shimmy should the ale flow a little too freely. Tickets are just £6.00 on the door on Friday and Saturday, so come on down and spend an evening in the company of some of the North West’s most beloved beers, ciders and perries.
Knock a couple back in Norfolk
Over the coming week, the Norwich & Norfolk branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) will be hosting the 36th Norwich Beer Festival in the city’s St Andrew’s and Blackfriars’ Halls. Merrymakers will have to choose their favourite tipple from a daunting selection of over 200 real ales and ciders, making the event one of the biggest and most prominent on the CAMRA beer festival calendar. For a nominal £5.00 entry fee, avid ale fans can tuck into the cream of East Anglia’s crop of real ales, including Wolf Brewery’s ‘Granny Wouldn’t Like It’ and Humpty Dumpty Brewery’s ‘Bad Egg’. There’ll be plenty of entertainment and a good spread of local grub on offer too, so take up your tankard and enjoy a great evening in Norfolk.
Sink a pint by the sea in Cornwall
For your chance to chow down on a crumbly Cornish pasty and a real ale beside the sea this weekend, why not visit the Cornwall Beer Festival which is taking place at Falmouth’s Princess Pavilion over the next two days. Volunteers at the event will be serving up a plethora of around 200 splendid beverages including real ale, fruit wines and continental bottled beers, all of which can be enjoyed within a stone’s throw from the stunning Cornish Coast. Plus, there’s a trove of regional entertainment taking place during the festival, including live music and traditional Morris dancing, giving you the opportunity to get a real flavour for the culture and spirit of Cornwall.
Enjoy a pint or two on a Sykes Cottage holiday!
If you’ve been inspired to wet your whistle at one of the real ale festivals mentioned in this post, gather up those leftover holiday days and plan a last minute cottage holiday in the UK. Beer festivals are a great way to mingle with like-minded ale devotees, so raise a glass to the humble British pint this year with an autumn short break from Sykes Cottages. Cheers!