Real Ale festival success

The third Real Ale & Cider Festival, the biggest yet in the range on offer and also visitor numbers, has been praised for its “warm ambience” and friendly welcome.

One visitor wrote with thanks: “I must let you know how much I enjoyed my visit to your clubhouse yesterday. I have been to lots of festivals all over the North East and beyond but never came across a venue as appealing as NCC.The staff were excellent and took the time to talk to visitors. Thanks to all for a great session and I will look forward to 125 not-out.” 2012 will see the 125th anniversary of the Jesmond Ground.

The organisers said they had aimed to appeal to all ages – from students to CAMRA veterans – and to women as well as men. “It’s great to help people to broaden the palate, to appreciate more natural brews and showcase local breweries,” said Robert Creswick, Newcastle Cricket Club.

The quality of the real ales was praised by visitors. The first to go was Thornbridge Jaipur. The ciders were a total sellout, thanks to a very attractive range and particular favourites were Thistley Cross fruit ciders, especially the strawberry.

The festival is supported by CAMRA Tyneside and Northumberland, this year celebrating the 40th anniversary of the campaign to promote real ales and cider. The main sponsor was Stadium Packing, with specially-commissioned festival glasses and polo shirts sponsored by Oaks Properties. Details of cask sponsors can be seen on the sponsor page.

The top raffle prize – 50 bottles of real ale – was won by Joshua Franklin, a student who lives on Osborne Avenue. Other winners: Pimms – John Bradford; Champagne – Mike Sewell; Wychwood box set – Ian Proud; Vodka – Allan Knaggs – donated to Brenda, one of the CAMRA volunteers; red wine – Ross Drummond; white wine – Jackson Pope.