It’s always a pleasure to pop in to The Junction ‘Home of beers from the Wood’ in Castleford for a pint of Neil Midgeley’s well kept ales. The Junction, or to be precise the adjacent Lagentium Brewery premises was the venue for the First Annual Festival of Beers from the Wood (Woodfest2017) so it was no surprise to find the organising committee for Woodfest2018 sat in The Junction’s snug alongside a roaring log fire, amidst several empty trays of sandwiches, folders, notebooks and lists of ales and brewers.
The small committee had travelled from across the North of England to Castleford’s shrine of wooden casks to plan and prepare for the Society For Preservation of Beers from The Wood’s Second Annual Festival of Beers from the Wood. Rob Shacklock, SPBW vice-chair and festival organiser told me the preparations were already a good month ahead of where they had been with last years festival. He said he was confident that this years event would be bigger than ever.
You’ll have to watch the Woodfest2018 website for full details of all the beers, but I can reveal there are some really cool beers from some excellent traditional, and more than a few very progressive brewers available. Thirty two different breweries have already confirmed they will be supplying fifty seven different beers between them, you can expect more beers and more brewers to come.
As a bit of a sneak preview, you can expect last years Gold Medal winner Haymaker to be available, along with two other Hook Norton brews. There’s also three half hogsheads from what I judged to be my favourite brewer at Woodfest2017, Gypsy Hill from London. The perennial favourite 1872 Porter from Elland will be OTB as well as beers from Wylam, Ridgeside, BrewYork, Phipps, Bad Seed and Blackjack, just to name a few. I was even told in hushed whispers there would be ciders from the wood as well!
You can already purchase tickets online at The Woodfest2018 website and I thought £10 for a single day ticket sounded like a bargain; includes Admission, Festival Programme, Souvenir glass (non-refundable) and 3 beer tokens (worth £1.70 each). Each token buys you a half of standard strength or a third of a strong beer. Group tickets are available and you can also purchase a full three, or two day pass at a discount to the ‘if available’ entry on the door. Festival merchandise is already in their online shop and as you can see from the photo (nearly) all the committee were sporting very smart Woodfest 2018 polo shirts and jackets.
The venue for this years festival is the Exchange, a registered charity which exists to promote a diverse mix of arts and culture that has it’s own 300 capacity auditorium, café bar and conference centre within a stunning grade 2 listed building in North Shields, Newcastle upon Tyne.
It looked fairly clear to me that this years event will be even bigger and better than last year. So, my advice would be to put the 5th, 6th & 7th of July in your diary now, get online and buy your tickets because I reckon it’s going to be very popular.
North Shields is well connected by the Metro underground system to Newcastle city centre where there is plenty of accommodation and fast East Coast Mainline trains to destinations North and South.