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.

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - What's On - - DAYS OUT - By An­gela Cole

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

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