SPOTLIGHT ON... Barbecues and boozers
Celebrate the end of the summer with two food and drink festivals and the arrival of autumn with some warming cookbooks.
They’re a thirsty lot, the visitors to CAMRA’S East Malling Beer and Cider Festival. Organisers of the popular beer festival estimated that a pint was served every 3.5 seconds at last year’s event.
Even an overnight thunderstorm failed to keep people away from the festivities.
Back for a ninth year this weekend, the event will be held on Saturday, September 1.
Held in the grounds of NIAB EMR, the world-famous horticultural and agricultural research institute at New Road, East Malling, the oneday event is organised and staffed by volunteer members of the Maidstone and MidKent Branch of CAMRA and follows in the footsteps of similar events organised by the branch since the 1970s.
It is renowned for showcasing local microbreweries and cider producers, as well as varied brews from around the UK. Organiser Jeff Tucker said: “We think we have the perfect venue. We’re delighted to be returning for 2018 following a record-breaking 2017 event. Our organising team has been working hard to ensure this year’s event continues to be an enjoyable experience for all the family.” Chairman of Maidstone and Mid-kent CAMRA, Ian Clennett, added: “Visitors tell us how much they have enjoyed the festival and how much they are looking forward to coming back. “Each year, we’ve fine-tuned what has proven to be a winning formula and can promise them an even better event for 2018.”
A Beer of the Festival is chosen each year, selected by a panel of real ale enthusiasts. Last year’s was Orkney Best, from Swannay Brewery in Evie, Orkney, and Red Love, from Biddenden, was chosen by a separate panel as Best Cider or Perry. The fastest selling cider was Salted Caramel from Dudda’s Tun in Doddington.
The event raises funds for charity too, with some £340 going to Demelza last year, after festival organisers donate the equivalent of unused drinks Running from 11am to 7pm, admission is £5, and free for card-carrying CAMRA members.
N Next up for CAMRA is the eighth CAMRA Real Ale & Cider Festival and Autumn Diesel Gala at the Spa Valley Railway in Tunbridge Wells from Friday, October to Sunday, October 21.
Frank Reeves, Jamie Millen, Josh Millen and Josh Ellis at last year’s event Picture: Gary Browne