Real Ale Festival cheers

Newcomers to real ales and veterans flocked to our fourth Real Ale and Cider Festival, to sample new beers from the growing independent real ale industry.

The five day festival offered 36 real ales and ciders, who also had the chance to watch the Newcastle-Sunderland derby and enjoy family day on the Sunday.

New this time was a cider matured in whisky casks from Borders success story Thistly Cross, who are also bringing favourites including cider brewed with their own Scottish strawberries.

Breweries new to the festival include Wibblers from Essex, Old Dairy from Kent and Frys from Cornwall. Closer to home are beers from the North of England, including Anarchy near Morpeth and Red Willow Brewery in Cheshire.

The raffle – drawn at 10pm on the last night – was won by Will Stuart, who took home the 50 bottles of real ale, and Charlie Stewart (no relation!) who won the signed and framed Durham CCC shirt, kindly donated by Marstons. Other winners were Doug Hudson and Chris Hook.

Opening times:
Thurs 18 Oct 5pm – 11pm
Fri 19 Oct 2pm – 11pm
Sat 20 Oct 12 noon – 11pm
Sun 21 Oct 12 noon – 11pm
Mon 22 Oct 5pm – 11pm

Festival organiser Rob Creswick said: “We’re looking forward to trying out new beers, but also welcoming back favourites from local breweries and beyond. The big hitters like Marble Ginger and Thornbridge Jaipur will be there, plus beers from Big Lamp, Hadrian and Border, Mordue and Tyne Bank.”

Entry to the event in the Thomson Pavilion Suite costs £2 and a souvenir glass costs £1. Guests are provided with tasting notes for all the festival ales and specially designed commemorative beer glasses. Real ale enthusiasts will also have an opportunity to win 50 bottles of the UK’s best real ales in the raffle.

Also available:
• Activities for families are on offer on Sunday afternoon
• Visitors will have a rare opportunity to see some of the archive going back more than a century illustrating the ground’s remarkable links with international, county and community cricket.
• Football fans can enjoy a choice of games while they’re sampling: the separate Pavilion Bar will be screening matches on its Big Screens.

The festival is supported by Cider Bar sponsor, Oaks Properties, which is also sponsoring the souvenir glasses alongside British Engines. CASK SPONSORS: Dene’s Deli, Matrics Barbarians Cricket Club, Marstons, Ray Eden, Jesmond Gentlemen, Northern Rugby Club, Taylor Armstrong, WDL Maintenance & Contracting Ltd, W.J.Hunter, R.K.Mains, T.Baines Building Ltd, Ian Carswell – AXA Wealth, NE Money and PAT-MAN Peter Woodley. Once again CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) are advising on beer, cider and perry selection.

** Where we are and parking info