Beer lovers were queuing with enthusiasm today as they gathered outside St Lawrence Church for this year’s York CAMRA beer festival.

This year’s event has been scaled down from the traditional race course venue, due to the Knavesmire running extra races, but the festival remains big in all our hearts.

This afternoon saw the traditional trade only section, allowing the breweries, the publicans and others in hospitality to meet and exchange tales.

Among them were Mark Ellwood and Dan Druce of the Rook And Gaskell public house, sited just around the corner from the church.


Mark said the pair were looking to find beers to serve at their popular pub.

“There’s quite a few we haven’t seen before,” he said, eyeing up the barrels piled high around the church.

Dan said he was enjoying a Kinetic from the Atom brewery and both agreed the church venue was fantastic.

York Press: A stunning venue

Wayne Smith, co-founder of Brew York, has barely started, but said he was enjoying the different beers.

“It’s an impressive building,” he said of the historic church.

Wayne was looking forward to catching up with other breweries as well as publicans.

“It’s going to be a fun week, helped by easy transport from the city centre. I think it’s a great festival,” he added.

Brew York’s other co-founder Lee Grabham called the new venue ‘a stunning setting.’

“It’s been nicely organised. The beers are lovely and cool. I enjoy the networking and catching up with people. There’s still a few I haven’t seen since the pandemic. I have seen a few of thm today,” he said.

Patrick Hall, owner of the newly launched Trig Brewery near York, said this was the brewery’s first event.

“Our first brew is being poured now,” he told the Press.

“It’s turning out to be a great festival and it is in a wonderful setting, it’s beautiful.”

The team from Malton brewery Brass Castle were enjoying the networking, including a drink with Ian Loftus of the House of Trembling Madness.

Ian was disappointed the festival was smaller than in previous years, believing a large festival showcased York for its beers and pubs.

But he welcomed the church venue for being close to the city centre, adding many pubs were staging festival ‘fringe’ events.

Ian hoped people would also go into the city centre too and enjoy its delights.

The Blue Bell in Fossgate is one of the pubs hosting such events this week, such as 5pm tours of the cellar and it staying open until midnight.

York Press: The staff from the Rook and Gaskell

Landlord John Pybus agreed the setting was wonderful, adding York CAMRA should be proud of how it had turned out.

York CAMRA chairman Chris Tregellis added the festival had got off to a great start, the beer was flowing and ready to enjoy!

The festival runs until Saturday.