As the Sussex branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) announces its 28th Sussex Beer and Cider Festival, Nick Mosley finds out more about the organisation and what’s in store for the end of March 2018.
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) was formed in March 1971 by four men from north west England who were disillusioned by the domination of the UK beer market by a handful of companies pushing products of low flavour and overall quality onto the consumer. The voluntary organisation’s aims are to champion good quality real ale, ciders and perries, and to encourage thriving pubs in every community.
Over the past five decades membership has grown to 190,000 globally, and it is considered as one of the most successful consumer campaigns ever launched. Through CAMRA’s tireless campaigning, real ale is now produced by over 1,500 breweries across the UK – a tenfold increase since their foundation.
It also believes that well-run pubs, whether in rural or urban areas, play a critical social role in UK culture as the centres of community life. CAMRA supports the traditional pub as the best place in which to enjoy real ale and to try one of the thousands of superb beverages now produced across the UK.
This year’s beer and cider festival will be hosted at Brighton Racecourse from Thursday 22 to Saturday 24 March with over 60 breweries from across Sussex already committed to showcasing, alongside over 150 beers, and 40 ciders and perries, from across the UK. It is open to everyone but CAMRA members receive some additional benefits.
Depending on the session – running in both the afternoon and evening – entry ranges from £5 to £8 which includes a tasting glass and programme. The bars all operate on a token system so you can buy a sheet on the day and use them to have tasters or half pints.
Over the festival CAMRA members will also be blind tasting beers and ciders in a variety of categories to submit to the national CAMRA body for the annual ‘Champion’ awards that are hosted at the Great British Beer Festival at Olympia London in the summer.
If you love real ales and ciders then this is undoubtedly the largest and most varied annual opportunity to sample in Sussex so secure your ticket for this ever-popular event advance.
For advance tickets and more information visit www.sussexbeerfestival.co.uk