ST Albans is renowned as the birthplace of real-ale movement Camra, and the organisation is still based in the city to this day – so you’d expect a beer festival based there to be a little bit special.
The St Albans Beer and Cider Festival has taken over the Alban Arena and the pints will be pouring thick and fast from 11am to 11pm each day until last orders on Saturday night.
Fans of all things ale will be spoilt for choice, with up to 500 British cask and bottled conditioned beers on offer, as well as foreign beers and ciders and perries.
There are now nearly 900 breweries in the UK and the festival will showcase styles ranging from milds and bitters through to old ales, porters and stouts.
And local producers have their own spot – organisers have vowed to have a selection of beers from all the county’s breweries at the Hertfordshire Bar on the left hand corner of the stage.
That’s a chance for Dacorum-based specialists like the Tring Brewery Company and Potten End’s Red Squirrel Brewery to spread the word about what they have to offer, alongside traditional names like Hertford’s McMullens.
Games, a tombola, a team quiz, and a breweriana auctions are also on the programme. You could also join Good Beer Guide editor Roger Protz for a tasting session tomorrow night.
Music laid on includes headline acts over the next three days. Tonight the Faith Stealers are centre stage from 9pm to 10.30pm, while Saturday’s offerings begin with a lunchtime unplugged session from the Nimmo Brothers (12.30pm – 2pm) and an evening performance from Larry Miller (9pm – 10.30pm).
Entry to the festival is £3 today and tomorrow, and £4.50 on Saturday – but if you’re a Camra member, you’ll get in free whenever you want to go.
Visit stalbansbeerfestival.org.uk for full details.