The villages to the North East of Leeds have probably got more beer festivals going on per square mile than anywhere I know. Some of these are established events, Thorner and East Keswick are in their eleventh year, I think Thorner was the first by a few months. Some are fancy two day events like Boston Spa and the 2014 Tadcaster festival, but mostly Saturday only, noon till finish. The underlying theme of nearly all of them is fund raising for good causes, principally village charities.
In addition to the obvious attraction for the beer(ded) connoisseur, there is a real friendly atmosphere at these festivals. Most have live music, varying from professional to amateur, rock to folk and everything in between, plus locally sourced pies, pasties, hog roasts and other fine fayre.
The best of all of them, in my humble opinion, is Clifford champion beer festival. It has to be, I’ve been involved in running it and most of the photos on the excellent web site are mine. Nevertheless, thirty ales from the likes of Red Willow, Magic Rock, Roosters, Siren, Oakham, Mallinson’s, and more from the cutting edge of brewing set it apart for me. Joking apart all these festivals are pretty good; you will have seen my previous review of Thorner beer festival. There was talk at one time of a ‘beer festival tour’, get a stamp from each one and win a t shirt, I still think it’s a good idea.
For the curious, many of these pretty villages are worth a visit in their own right. They all have a pub or three that’s worth a visit. Although I don’t like picking individual local pubs out, they’re all different, if you’re in the area and seriously into beer then The Muse, Wetherby is the default option for all beer geeks.
So here’s the schedule, apologies if I’ve missed anyone’s festival out, please let me know if I have.
Go on have a go, you know you’ll like it ….
Tockwith – Saturday May 16th 2015
Wetherby – Saturday 30th May 2015
Collingham – Saturday 6th June 2015
****** Clifford – Saturday 27th June 2015 ******
Shadwell, The Red Lion PH – Saturday August 8th 2015
Garforth – Saturday 15th August 2015
Tadcaster – August 2015 (unconfirmed)
Bramham – Saturday 19th September
East Keswick – Saturday 10th October
Barwick in Elmet – Saturday 17th October 2015
Boston Spa – February 2016
Bardsey – March 2016
Spofforth – March 2016 (not confirmed)
Thorner – April 2016 (not confirmed)
Linton, The Windmill PH – usually April 2016 (not confirmed)