Clitheroe’s annual real ale festival takes place this weekend, beginning tomorrow (Friday) and continuing throughout Saturday, celebrating all thing ale.
Held at the St Mary’s Centre on Church Brow, the event is the seventh festival run as a joint effort between the East Lancashire branch of the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) and the St Mary’s Centre, and is the 9th festival in succession.
The two organisations have forged a strong partnership over the past few years and regard the beer festival as a major event on the calendar. Last year around 1,600 people attended over the two nights, happily draining 70 barrels of beer (70 pints per barrel) as well as cartons of cider, perry and bottled beers.
This year the festival will feature 72 ales and 15 ciders and perries, as well as bottled beer from Europe and beyond. Its theme is “Natural Beauty”, to tie in with the Forest of Bowland celebrating 50 years as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). There will be plenty of beers sourced from AONBs in England and Wales as well as their Scottish counterparts, National Scenic Areas, as well as several beers brewed in East Lancashire and some newcomers as well.
It comes at a time when real ale has never been as popular, with local and small-scale breweries prospering like never before. Sales of independently brewed beer have rocketed, a trend that has been accelerated by the recession as people search for quality rather than quantity.
All CAMRA festivals endeavour to promote traditional British beer, but they are also an important campaigning tool for CAMRA, especially in recruiting new members.
Real ale is a very high quality product and not as expensive as a brand name. You can still find it in pubs at around £3 a pint and in hard-up times people will go for a cheaper but better quality option.
Cathering Snelling, of CAMRA’s East Lancashire branch, commented: “We have been fortunate to have attracted three major sponsors for the festival. The East Lancs Community Rail Partnership and Daniel Thwaites PLC have offered to be the festival glass sponsors, while Clayton Park Bakery has sponsored the staff T-shirts.”
The Clitheroe Beer Festival begins at 1 pm on the Friday and at noon on the Saturday; entry is £2 before 6 pm and £3 thereafter. CAMRA members and NUS card holders can enter free of charge at all times.
Steve and Christine Dilworth, landlords of the The Swan with Two Necks at Pendleton – the national CAMRA Pub of the Year 2014 – will officially open the festival at around 3-30 pm on Friday.
Live music is available on both nights, featuring The Blackjacks on Friday and the Cheating Hearts on Saturday, and the festival charity for 2014 is Clitheroe Rotarians.
For more information visit the CAMRA website at: www.eastlancscamra.org.uk