MORE than 3,000 real ale fans are expected to flock to the 2016 Bradford Beer Festival, which starts at Saltaire's Victoria Hall today

The three-day event – which visitors drank dry last year – will showcase at least 130 local and regional ales, alongside fruit wines, ciders and international beers.

There are also two new features for this year’s festival – a ‘Super Saturday’ and brewer-led tasting sessions.

Kerr Kennedy, Bradford Campaign for Real Ale’s festival organiser, said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming around 3,000 customers over the three days of the festival and we’ve made some changes to hopefully improve the customer experience.
“Firstly, we’ve made Saturday into ‘Super-Saturday’ – a one-session day allowing customers to visit any time between 11.30am and 10pm and stay as long as they want to enjoy the festival. We’ve plenty of room for everyone and no need for advance booking.

“Another new feature for 2016 is the introduction of Tutored Tasting Sessions on Saturday when respected local brewers Dave Sanders and Ian Cowling of GreyHawk and Bridgehouse breweries will guide customers through the traditional beer styles of Britain, from milds and bitters to IPAs, stouts and porters.

“Following that is a session to explore classic Belgian bottled beers from beer judge and writer Ian Garrett.

“The sessions are priced at £5 and £7.50, in addition to festival entry, and include six different beers.”

It is the 19th consecutive time the festival has been held at Victoria Hall, and Mr Kennedy added: “As usual, we’ll be featuring a selection of 130-plus local and regional cask-conditioned ales together with authentic farm cider and perries and fruit wines. We’ll also be featuring an excellent range of international draught and bottled beers from New Zealand, Holland, Germany, Belgium, Estonia, Spain and the USA.”


The festival, which will include hot and cold food and live music on Friday evening and Saturday, is also a chance for Bradford’s CAMRA branch to get a message across. Mr Kennedy said: “Through the festival experience, we can get across CAMRA’s messages such as promoting traditional cask-conditioned ales and preserving pubs for future generations. We also attract new members at the event, joining the current national membership of over 176,000.”

CAMRA member and volunteer Bill Arnold said: “It’s always a massive success, but last year was amazing. But we’ll be aiming to top that.”

The festival, which is pay on the door, runs until Saturday. There is one session tomorrow (6pm to 10pm) and it is £3 to get in. On Friday there are sessions from 11.30am to 4.30pm (£3) and 6.30pm to 11pm (£6). ‘Super Saturday’ runs from 11.30am to 10pm and is £5 entry.

To book tickets for the sessions with the brewers and the beer judge, contact campaigns@bradfordcamra or 07970 952503.

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