From humble beginnings in the late 1970s, the Lincoln Beer Festival has grown to become a major event in the city’s social calendar. Last year, over 3,500 customers enjoyed the traditional ales and great atmosphere. Visitors are attracted to the event from across the country.
The first Lincoln Beer Festival was held in the upstairs room of the Stag’s Head on Newport in 1977. Since then, it has been held in the Assembly Rooms and the old Drill Hall, and under canvas on the Brayford and The Lawns. The festival returned to the Drill Hall in 2005, and this year’s is the tenth to be held at the venue since it was refurbished.
Steve Renshaw, the festival organiser, said, “I’ve been to lots of beer festivals but I’ve not been in a better venue than the Drill Hall. The main bar area has plenty of room for drinkers to chat about the beers. We have live music in the café area, so it doesn’t impact on the conversations. And, if the weather is good, the courtyard is a great place to chill out. We’ve developed a really good relationship with the Drill Hall staff – putting on the event is a real team effort.”
The festival has two main aims. For those who are regular drinkers of real ale, cider and perry, a wide range of drinks is provided, many of which would not normally be found in this part of the country. Ales from many local breweries are also showcased. And for those who are not yet devotees, the huge variety of styles and flavours to be discovered in our traditional British drinks is demonstrated.
At the first festival, back in 1977, there were just ten beers. This year’s real ale list has more than 100 entries from all over the UK. Also featured are traditional, farm-produced cider and perry, plus bottled beers from around the world.
The festival is organised and staffed by unpaid volunteers from the Lincoln branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).