It's beer festival season...

Okay so we love trying new beers at home, it's our bread and butter. But if you are a real beer fan, a summer beer festival is a must if you want to be at the forefront of the beer industry. Meet your beery heroes, sample new (and not yet released to shops!) beers and find your new favourite brews. 

Both microbreweries and big brands are at these events, so even if you haven't tried more than a humble ale, you'll still be able to enjoy any festival. As a bonus, these events are packed with great food and entertainment too so it's a great day out regardless!

Convinced yet? Check out where the nearest festival is near you on this handy calendar (cheers to them for putting this together!)


What is a beer festival? 

You might be thinking...most festivals or events serve beer, so what makes a festival a beer festival? Stricly speaking, a beer festival is any event at which you purchase a ticket to drink a variety of beers. So this includes anything from a general beer festival which allows any brewery to be there to very strict craft-only events; which makes it hard to pick just one or two to attend. 

So here are our tips to a what makes a good festival (and why you should go): 

  • New beers are often introduced at festivals - so if your favourite brewery is attending, chances are they are bringing something magical with them that you haven't seen before!
  • Good festivals will have a wide range of breweries, not just beer taps! Smaller breweries often attend festivals to get the attention of those passionate about their beer, as it is much easier than doing a massive marketing campaign. So if you are looking to broaden your horizons, beer festivals will help you find what you are looking for!
  • You might get to meet (and learn from) your heroes! Many of these festivals offer masterclasses with master brewers - do your research as festivals publish this list in advance so you can make the most of the opportunity!

Big Beer Festivals in the UK

Of course, listing every beer festival in England is pretty challenging as there are just. too. many. If you wanted to go to one every day, you easily could. So we have picked out our personal favourites that wulfies have attended or are simply too good to miss. If you want a complete list of all beer festivals, check out Beer Festival Calendar.

Great British Beer Festival

1st - 5th August | Olympia, London

The Great British Beer Festival is one of the biggest and well-known annual events in the brewing world, having started in 1977. Organised by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), this is a welcoming festival for both budding sommeliers and beer tasting beginners. 

Cotswold Beer Festival

15th - 17th July | The Cotswolds

For those living outside big cities or looking for a scenic escape, this might be what you are looking for. This region is full of quaint country pubs, historic breweries and some great new creations - so keep your eye on this festival to see if you could have an educational (and delicious) getaway!

Manchester Craft Beer Festival

21th - 22th July | The Depot Mayfield, Manchester

For those that love all-inclusive deals, this beer festival was made for you. Your ticket includes unlimited beer - you are handed a beer glass that doubles as a souvenir, and you are set loose on 500+ beers to try.

With these unlimited beer festivals, it is important to pace yourself. Drink lots of water, enjoy great food and take note of the ABV of some beers - they might be stronger than you think!

Grab yourself a craft beer on the SUB


Tasting beer at festivals

It might seem daunting to see all the different stalls of breweries and brands, but honestly it's pretty easy. Either individual breweries will have stands, or there will be 'group bars' which host a variety of brews from a certain region or a certain style. 

Most festivals work on a token basis, so you buy a certain amount of tokens to exchange for food & drinks. Smaller festivals might work differently like operating on a flat entry fee for drinks then food is paid for seperately, so make sure to check on their website in advance.

Just go up, say hi, ask for a pint, and enjoy. Brewers are friendly, we promise!

Will I have to spit out the beer after tasting?

Unlike wine tasting, we never spit out the beer. The reason for this is that, not only is it a terrific waste of beer, but by spitting it out you woul That’s because your bitter receptors are in your throat. If you spit out your beer, it doesn’t reach these receptors, so you miss out of the full flavour experience, especially the bitterness, which is an important part of a beer’s flavour.