The 45th Newcastle Beer and Cider Festival is set to go ahead, and it will be the first time back to normal after Covid. Organiser Anthony McMullen from Seaton Burn started as a volunteer at the Newcastle Beer and Cider Festival seven years ago and is now pulling all the punches if not the pints.
The festival takes place from 29 March till 1 April at the Northumbria Students Union Building in Newcastle with beer and cider lovers able to sample some of the UK’s finest – and possibly most weird and wonderful – craft beers and ciders. Some of the beers have been brewed exclusively for the festival and others will be premiered there before going on general sale. Local breweries from Tyneside and Northumberland have been invited to brew either a Chocolate Stout or a Red Ale that has never been seen before. Breweries including Camper Van Brewery from Edinburgh, Top Rope Brewing from Liverpool and Tiny Rebel Brewery from Newport Wales have already pledged to attend.
The Beer and Cider Festival
This year, around 100 beers and 50 ciders from quirky tiny unique micro-breweries to established names will be on tap at the Northumbria University campus for what’s become the biggest showcase of its kind in the region. For the first time this year, there will also be a spirits bar with rum whisky and gin to ensure that everyone’s tastes are met.
Anthony has a huge logistical task to organise getting literally hundreds of precious casks of ale in situ, conditioned and ready for the perfect pour every time. The event involves building several bars from scratch, organising the logistics of getting beers and ciders to the right places and ensuring that the attendees are well looked after.
There will be bands playing throughout the festival including Blistered Molly, a female fronted classic rock band covering songs by artists such as AC/DC, and Guns and Roses.
St Oswald’s Hospice, Women’s Detection of Cancer and the Great Air Ambulance have been chosen as the festival’s charities. On the Thursday, participants are encouraged to wear a hat, the more unusual the better and if anyone doesn’t have one, they can buy one from the St Oswald’s stall.
“Every year we get better and better both in terms of the breweries taking part and visitor numbers. Already we know that a real ale lover from Texas has booked his holiday around the festival, and it’s amazing that someone has decided to travel across the Atlantic to join us… Most people who attend are locals and we do have a growing fan base from across the UK who turn up every year but someone from the USA is fantastic. I’ll be buying him a pint or two to say thank you.”
Fast track admission packages are now available £16.50 which includes a commemorative glass and five beer tokens.
For more information, including sponsorship and volunteering opportunities like the one that got Anthony started, check out the official website at www.nclbeerfest.uk