Guest blog: Hop, hop hooray, we got Mark Stredwick of the quite brilliant Brewtown Tours to select his top ten Yorkshire beer festivals.
Sheffield Steel City Beer & Cider Festival
Kelham Island Museum, South Yorkshire
October 18-21, 2017
This large festival hosted by the local CAMRA group is held in the rather unique Kelham Island Museum – a museum that showcases Sheffield’s industrial past in a former factory building set on a man-made island in the River Don. The programme features more than 200 real ales, craft beers, traditional ciders and perries, as well as street food traders, stalls and live music.
Entry: From free
Wharfedale Beer Festival
Grassington Town Hall, Grassington, North Yorkshire
November 10-11, 2017
Grassington has recently been voted one of the best places to live in the UK, and this cosy festival at Grassington Town Hall may be one of the reasons why. Only three years old, it has quickly become the biggest beer festival in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and attracts an eclectic crowd with an unusually high proportion of women. Many of them are no doubt drawn by the 50 real ales, ciders and lagers on offer, as well as numerous wines and gins. There’s also live entertainment on both evenings (including a performance by U2 tribute U2 2, pictured above). Grassington’s quite remote… thankfully, the specially chartered bus services from Skipton and Ilkley ensure no one has to be designated driver.
Entry: £10 including four food and drink tokens with one token being the equivalent of ½ pint. Further tokens are £1.50 each. Return bus tickets are £6.
Otley Beer Festival
Otley Rugby Club, Otley, West Yorkshire
November 24-25, 2017
Held at Otley Rugby Club, there’s a real buzzy community feel to this festival now in its 17th year. Those 17 years have seen more than 780 beers make an appearance and the line up for each year is usually a closely guarded secret until just before the event itself. Monies raised from the festival – some £84,000 to date – go to the upkeep of All Saints Parish Church, parts of which date back to the 11th century.
Entry: £4 including a commemorative glass.
The Milton Rooms, Malton, North Yorkshire
May 17-19, 2018
Malton is home to two very good breweries, Brass Castle and Bad Seed, and the pair have teamed up to launch this fab festival featuring more than 50 beers, from fruity IPAs to sweet malt treats, and German style wheat beers to sours. Held over three days (Thursday, Friday and Saturday), it’s a popular pick and some of the more well-known beers sell out from the first session, so it’s worth going as early as possible. Artisan food is on offer, as is a wide range of entertainment. Monies raised help out Ryedale Special Families, a local charity that supports children with special needs.
Entry: £6, including a £2 glass deposit
Yorkshire Hearty Festival
Yorkshire Heart Brewery, Nun Monkton, North Yorkshire
May 4-6 2018
For a festival that’s a bit more like a … festival, head to the Yorkshire Heart Vineyard and Brewery, outside the village of Nun Monkton. As well as a selection of real ales and craft beers, there’s excellent sparkling wine from the estate, and the chance to camp out, so the party can go late into the night. The kids are not left out of this one either, thanks to bouncy castles, inflatable slides and outdoor games.
Entry: From £15, camping from £5
The Dales Festival Of Food And Drink
Leyburn, North Yorkshire
June 16-17 2018
There are many great reasons to visit The Dales Festival Of Food And Drink … but two of the best are the fact it’s free to enter and it’s held over Father’s Day weekend, making it an ideal place to spoil dad with a beer or two. A full programme of entertainment sees everything from bands playing jazz through pop tunes, plus there’s a cookery theatre featuring some of the best regional chefs. Past sessions have been hosted by the like of Tristan Prudden of The Black Horse in Kirby Fleetham and Chris Rahman, head chef at Saffron in Leyburn.
Entry: From £7
City of Ale festival
Brew York Brewery, York, North Yorkshire
July 2018 (dates TBC)
Brew York is a brilliant microbrewery and pub by the River Foss in the heart of the city, conveniently a short walk from all the major sites and the city train station. This friendly fest features a host of Yorkshire breweries, alongside street food stalls and live entertainment.
Entry: £3 includes souvenir glass
Leeds International Beer Festival
Leeds Town Hall, West Yorkshire
September 2018 (dates TBC)
Held in Leeds’ grand and very ornate Victorian-era town hall and with five sessions over three days, this is a monster of a festival with more than 100 beers on offer. The food here is pretty darn good too – with a range of street food options that in the past have included Indian nibbles from Bundobust, Italian by Scream for Pizza, and BBQ by Crackerjack.
Entry: From £7
Scarborough Real Ale, Cider and Arts Festival
The Old Parcel Office at Scarborough Railway Station, North Yorkshire
October 2018 (dates TBC)
Scarbados comes to live at this large festival hosted by the local CAMRA group in the evocative setting of the Old Parcel Office at Scarborough Railway Station. Featuring more than 65 beers and 20 real ciders, there’s also food including the newly hyped Yorkshire Pudding Wraps, and music by local bands including indie rockers The Fuzz Junkies and ukulele troupe The Dirty Windows (pictured above) who both appeared in 2017. Like many other festivals, proceeds go to charity, this time in the form of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
St Giles Church, Copmanthorpe
October 2018, (dates TBC)
The brainchild of local Reverend Geoff Mumford and Andy Herrington from the nearby Ainsty Ales, Coptoberfest is a proper little boutique festival – small but perfectly formed. In its fourth year and raising money for local good causes, it features some 30 real ales from the surrounding area, as well as ciders, wine and Prosecco. Festival food comes in the form of pie and peas from Ged Bell Family Pie-Maker, two local cafes Little Acorns and the Annex, and an Indian restaurant, plus there’s a programme of acoustic music.
Entry: £5 including glass, programme and first drink