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Tewkesbury CAMRA Winter Ale Festival reaches landmark year

All Areas > Entertainment > Attractions

Author: Thomas Hadfield, Posted: Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 09:00

Last year’s festival proved popular Last year’s festival proved popular

The Tewkesbury branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) will be holding their popular Winter Ales Festival this month.

It’s set to be a special event as this year marks the 25th anniversary since the annual festival began, after it was first held in the skittle alley at The White Bear in Tewkesbury.

The festival soon outgrew that venue and is now held at the Watson Hall, and branch secretary Ian Mence explains what visitors can expect to be on offer.

“Last year we had around 20 beers from local brewers, this year we’re expecting that to be around 30,” he said.

“We invite breweries from all over Gloucestershire like the Inferno Brewery based in Tewkesbury, who last year won our Ale of the Festival, and then top it up with breweries from around the UK. All of the beers are winter ales, meaning they’re brewed between October and February.

“All the food on offer is from local producers too, we like to promote local businesses as much as we can.”

Ian has been a member of the CAMRA since the 1970s and has been a committee member of the Tewkesbury Branch for the last few years following his retirement.

The Tewkesbury branch of CAMRA has around 360 members, and Ian says around 60 volunteers will be pitching in to help.

“There’s a lot to do,” he explained. “We have the weekend before to set up all the racking and bar area and rack 80 barrels of beer to allow them to settle, then run the festival and finally take it all down on the Sunday morning.”

Whilst Tewkesbury CAMRA branch members do help with other events throughout the year, like last year’s Tewkesbury Summer Beer Festival and the Postlip Hall Festival, the Winter Ales Festival is the only event they fully host.

And with this year’s special anniversary, Ian is looking forward to another successful festival, for which he has been sourcing ales since last October.

He added: “Because it’s our 25th I have tried to get some unique ales and ales that we haven’t had before. The list of ales can be downloaded from our website.

“We tend to get around 1,100 to 1,200 visitors over the three days, weather permitting.”

The festival runs on Thursday 6th February (CAMRA card holders only) 7pm-11pm, Friday 7th February 11am-11pm and Saturday 8th February 11am-8pm.

For more information visit www.tewkesbury.camra.org.uk

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