by Leo Owen
In its 32nd year, The Frocester Beer Festival has a large selection of wines, along with ciders and perries. It is always held across the August bank holiday weekend at the cricket club's ground in the hamlet of Frocester.
Entrance for Friday 24th costs £10 and all-day Saturday 25th a mere £12, with camping and parking included in the price. The camp-site has public amenities but pitches are non-reservable.
The Livestock Warmers provide live music on the festival stage from 6.30pm onwards with other acts playing throughout the weekend, including Frampton Foot and Coronettes. A selection of warm food is sold on site to soak up some of that alcohol.
For more information, visit: http://www.dursleylions.com/frocesterbeerfestival.htm
The Ross On Wye Cider And Perry Festival follows hot on the heels of Frocester from August 31st to September 2nd at Broome Farm. A lively Ceilidh marks the start of the festival from 7pm on the Friday before a pressing demonstration and chance to meet the cider makers on the Saturday morning. Live Music continues the weekend’s entertainment from 2pm. and free Sausage & Cheese Sunday concludes the festivities. Locals, Hilary and John, will be providing their usual quality food during the festival.
For more information, visit: http://www.rosscider.com/Events.htm
At the Gower Heritage Centre in Swansea over the 13th-14th October, punters have the chance to watch apples being pressed and juiced by a 150 year-old mobile cider press, traditionally used for 'Scrumpy'. Visitors to the centre can test their strength by operating the press or simply enjoy a tipple or two. Luxury accommodation is available at Millers Apartment, Old Hay Barn and Three Cliffs Lodge with limited spaces. An alternative cider and cheese festival also takes place here in May.
For more information, visit: www.gowerheritagecentre.co.uk
The Nottingham CAMRA Robin Hood Beer & Cider Festival is held in the grounds of Nottingham’s magnificent 17th century ducal mansion built on the site of the original Medieval Castle. Taking place from Thursday 11th to Saturday 13th October, the festival runs a twelve hour session each day from 11am until 11pm, costing a mere £15 for a festival pack (See “Beer On The Wye” for details) .
The focus is on local British, regional and independent small artisan cider and perry makers, moving away from pub-found names to showcase small collectives such as “The Marches Cyder Circle”. Snack on beer-infused dishes or hot and cold foods from around the world in the top marquee while soaking up the daily entertainment and spectacular views across the city. Visitors to the Beer Festival can visit the Castle Museum free of charge.
For information about nearby accommodation, visit:
The Welsh Perry and Cider Festival takes place in the grounds of Blaengawney Farm in Crumlin at the start of the month. Beginning in 2002 with only 10 different ciders and perries on sale, this annual festival now boasts over 70 and runs for three days. Entry to the festival comes with a glass and a half pint of cider or perry. The festival also includes the Welsh Cider & Perry Championships, live Music, weekend camping onsite with toilets and showers for £15pp and an excellent food selection.
If you don't fancy staying at the festival site itself then there are loads of alternative options close by if you visit: www.visitcaerphilly.co.uk.
For further information, visit: http://www.welshcider.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=161&Itemid=48
“Beer On The Wye”, The Hereford Beer and Cider Festival occurs at the start of July and is held at the Rowing Club in the historic heart of Hereford. Presented by CAMRA (The Campaign For Real Ale) and in its eighth consecutive year, the festival is housed in a big top style marquee in a riverside meadow.
The festival showcases an enormous drinks selection with over 140 beers from all over the country and 120 ciders/perries, all locally produced in Herefordshire. The Foreign Beers Bar is another added plus, offering over 40 beers from overseas.
Festival entry packs are available on the door for £15, including admission, festival programmes, a choice of pint or half-pint festival glass (£2.50 refundable) and refundable drinks tokens. All alcoholic drinks are chilled and sold in a choice of third-pint measures for those keen on tasting, as well as the normal halves and pints for those who already know their preference.
The Sultana Brothers Rhythm and Blues kick-off the festival entertainment from 6pm on the Friday, Whiskey River Zydeco start Saturday’s entertainment from 3pm and The Andy Masefield Jazz Band keep festival-goers in the groove from 1.30pm on the Sunday. Family Fun Day closes the festival with activities on offer for children of all ages, allowing both cider/beer enthusiasts and their little ones to enjoy the festival atmosphere.
Run by the Rowing Club (HRC), camping is bookable (07813 331456) and costs between £8-9 per night, boasting round-the-clock use of the modern toilet/shower block in the HRC clubhouse. Food is available on site, ranging from curries and burgers to fish & chips, ensuring vegetarians are catered for.
For more information, visit: http://www.herefordcamra.org.uk/festival.htm