Winter’s the Time to Sample Real British Ale

Real ale has been building up quite a bit of traction in the drinks market. Fans seeking a more personalized beer experience have taken to seeking out and supporting small artisan brewers. February is a prime time to discover winter ales in Campaign for Real Ale, or CAMBRA, events across the United Kingdom.

A Season of Ales
Events in Tewksbury and Chesterfield will be starting an entire month of celebrating winter ales among CAMBRA’s chapters. Nineteen festivals are taking place under the CAMBRA umbrella, and punters can purchase tickets for all of them at the organisation’s website.


Newcomers and Old Hands
A fairly new up and comer on the ale scene is Derby’s Winter Beer Festival at the end of February, currently in its 3rd year of bringing real ale to the people of Derby. It’s taking place in Derby’s Roundhouse, which has a claim to fame as the first and oldest surviving railway roundhouse. The Grade II listed building has been restored since 2008, and hosts a brilliant example of a traditional engine turntable.

Chelmsford is holding its 14th edition of the Winter Beer and Cider Festival from Wednesday 20th to Saturday 23rd of February. Visitors will have a choice of 200 real ales, 50 ciders and a full range of international beers to try, as well as festival food. The move to a bigger venue is a testament to the growing popularity of real ale.

Giving Back
Many small festivals also have a strong bent for charity and community assistance. The Pendle Beer Festival, for instance, gives bunters the chance to sponsor a barrel of their favourite brew for £40, which in turn gives them two three tickets and two free pints. Proceeds of the barrels, as well as the value of unused beer tickets, go towards supporting the Pendleside Hospice.

For the connoisseur, discovering the wide variety of ales and ciders that the UK’s artisan brewery scene has to offer is only a car hire and a hotel room booking a way. And, of course, what is ale without some food on the side? February is also a great time for driving out to one of the UK’s many food festivals, including the Rye Bay Scallop Week and Kingussie’s Food on Film conference. Food on Film 2013 boasts a wide variety of locally sourced nibbles to sample in the food hall, as well as celebrity chefs Aggie Mackenzie and Alison Sykora.


Catherine Halsey writes for a digital marketing agency on a range of subjects. This article links back to

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