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Dawn Paylor and Martin Scott raise a pint to Bishopthorpe’s beer festival, running next Saturday and Sunday at the Sports and Social Club
GAVIN AITCHISON reports on some beer festivals coming your way.
YOU know spring is in the air when the calendar starts filling up with beer festivals. There are more than ever these days, their popularity fuelled by (and helping to further fuel) Britain’s glorious beer revolution – and nowhere is the uprising more uplifting than in the village halls and community clubs of Yorkshire.
Avid enthusiasts and those who view themselves as connoisseurs may prefer the bigger festivals and who can blame them, for it is there that you find the best and rarest beers.
But in many ways, it is the rise of the small village gatherings that is most satisfying. Through this grass-roots activism (or hop-roots activism, perhaps) whole new sections of the population are being encouraged to try something new and to broaden their beer horizons.
If you want to see this for yourself or if you want to become a beer evangelist to your neighbours then you’re in luck, because York has three festivals coming up in quick succession.
Bishopthorpe’s event runs on both Saturday and Sunday in the Sports and Social Club. There will be around a dozen beers available including Mighty Oak Brewery’s Oscar Wilde (a former British champion beer) and three from Black Sheep Brewery in Masham.
Also next Saturday, Sutton Upon Derwent Village Hall and Woodhouse Grange Cricket Club host the first Sutton Beer Festival, from 1pm until late, supported by the local pub, The St Vincent Arms.
The promoters promise ten ales, two ciders, a Pilsner, barbecue food and live music. Admission is £10 which includes a programme, souvenir glass and your first drink.
The beer range is impressive and overwhelmingly local, including ales from Brass Castle Brewery in Pocklington, All Hallows Brewery in Goodmanham near Market Weighton, The Hop Studio in Elvington, Treboom Brewery at Shipton by Beninborough and York Brewery in the city centre – plus a festival special called Woodhouse Grange, from Brown Cow Brewery near Selby.
John Newlove, chairman of the village hall, says: “We hope to create a really good atmosphere for people to sample this wonderful selection of beers and ciders.”
Finally, on March 23 and 24, Dunnington AFC hosts its festival to raise funds, particularly for the junior section which is growing rapidly.
This one takes place in the Reading Rooms in Church Street and promises to be the biggest of the three, with 24 ales as well as ciders, perries, wine and non-alcoholic drinks and refreshments. Tickets are £5 each, which includes a programme and glass.
York Camra members will receive a free drink if they show their membership card and tickets are available at The Cross Keys in Common Lane or from dunningtonbeerfestival.co.uk
• Roosters Brewing Co in Knaresborough has teamed up with Taylors of Harrogate to create a new coffee beer called Londinium. The firms worked together to sample coffees from around the world before coming up with a final recipe, which uses four malts, English hops and Taylors’ “After Dark” coffee. The beer is available on cask and in 500ml bottles.
• The Waggon and Horses in Lawrence Street has relaunched its burger menu. Perhaps wisely, in light of recent horsemeat headlines, the main option is simply called The Waggon Burger.