There’s no better time to sample and savour some of England and Wales’ best beers and ciders than when the sun is shining and hours of daylight extend late into the evening. Head to any one of these festivals to sample some of the ever-growing range of high quality drinks being created by British brewers, safe in the knowledge you’ll find a hostel bed nearby to retire to when you’ve had your fill. Oh, and a YHA breakfast is the perfect way to clear away the cobwebs if you slightly over indulge!
Cambridge Beer Festival
Jesus Green, Cambridge
21st to 26th May 2018
Stay: YHA Cambridge
Now in its 45th iteration, the Cambridge Beer Festival is back and better than ever. With more than 200 ales, 80 ciders and perries, plus foreign beer, wines and meads available for you to sample throughout the course of the week, it’s well worth a visit. There’s also a cheese counter, with a vast range of British cheeses to try. Since 2001 the Cambridge Beer Festival has been held on Jesus Green, a pretty grassed area next to the River Cam – picture perfect when bathed in early summer sunshine!
Just a 5 minute walk from Lewes station, this CAMRA affiliated festival offers an excellent selection of nearly 90 different beers sourced from both local breweries and those further afield, as well as a number of ciders and perries for visitors with a sweeter tooth. Lewes’s Old Town Hall and Assembly Rooms provide a splendid setting, whilst hot and cold food is on offer throughout. Tickets for the popular Friday night and Saturday lunchtime sessions always sell very quickly, so early purchase is advised, and admission is by advance ticket only.
Peakender, the annual celebration of beer hosted by Derbyshire brewery Thornbridge, has grown year on year since its inaugural showing back in 2015. Thornbridge have built a strong reputation for quality, flavoursome beers, and you can rest assured that the taps on display will be packed with variety. A new venue in the heart of the picturesque town of Bakewell, and an improved programme featuring street food, live music and some amazing guest beers, mean Peakender is now a feature on the calendar of many a beer-lover.
Liverpool Craft Beer Expo
Invisible Wind Factory, Liverpool
26th -29th July 2018
Stay: YHA Liverpool
If you love trying new, bold beers, you’ll love the Liverpool Craft Beer Expo. Hosted in a new venue in the north of the city, an area lesser known in comparison to the Baltic Triangle a mile or so south, the event is run by design agency SB, and is described as being ‘one big party vibe, four days, 5000 people.’ With incredible beer, a ‘big ol’ gin bar’, a cider truck and street food market, including offerings from some of the new breed of ground-breaking and innovative breweries, who are we to argue?
Faversham Hop Festival
1st and 2nd September 2018
Stay: YHA Canterbury
It’s a beer festival, a Morris dancing festival, a folk festival, a fair and a food festival all rolled into one. The Faversham Hop Festival began as a celebration of the hop harvest back in the days when thousands of Londoners went to Kent for a working holiday. Today it’s a much bigger affair and even has its own fringe! Don’t miss this free-to-attend funfest. It’s a little over ten miles from YHA Canterbury to Faversham but, crucially, you can get there pretty easily on public transport.
Little Orchard Cider and Music Festival
14h to 16th September
Stay: YHA Perranporth
Enjoy a slice of the good life on Healey’s Cider Farm, just a few miles from Perranporth. This celebration of cider and music boasts a huge range of tipples and a great line up of musicians; expect to have your taste buds tickled and your toes set tapping. Other festival highlights include hot tubs, feast evenings and cider walks.
Bristol Craft Beer Festival
The Amphitheatre, Bristol Harbourside
14th – 16th September
Stay: YHA Bristol
Back for a second year, the Bristol Beer Festival brings together the south west’s most creative and talented independent breweries to pour alongside the very best from the rest of the country, Europe and the US. Buy a £38 ticket to get five hours of unlimited small pours. There are no tokens to fumble about with at the bar. All-in tickets make it simple; if you want to try a beer just ask. Tap on, tap off, toast! It’s a great atmosphere with plenty of music acts, artists and artisanal food producers.