Alban Arena set for 16th St Albans Beer Festival

BEER lovers are counting down the days until the return of the St Albans beer festival on September 28.

The 16th annual St Albans Beer Festival, held at the Alban Arena, marks the 40th anniversary of its organisers: the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

A beer specially brewed to celebrate the milestone, Tring XL IPA, will be launched at the festival.

Five hundred drinks – including 350 real ales, foreign beers, bottle-conditioned beers, ciders and perries – will be on sale at the event’s six bars. And nine Hertfordshire-produced beers will be available from the on-stage bar.

The festival, which attracted 9,000 people in 2010, will introduce two Roman-style beers this year. Made without hops, traditional Roman ingredients including seasonal fruit and vegetables are added to the brew.

Steve Bury, an active member of South Herts CAMRA for the last 40 years said: “We are more optimistic than ever about the year’s festival as demand for real ale grows. In the year of CAMRA’s 40th birthday, we really hope the 2011 festival will be an event to remember and hope drinkers old and new can make it along and sample our mammoth array of real ale, cider and perry.”

The Beer of the Festival will be chosen by local licensees after tasting a shortlist of 20 Hertfordshire brews on Thursday. The winner of the Hertfordshire Beer of the Year competition will also be announced at the three day event.

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Entertainment will kick off on Thursday night with a performance from Hertfordshire-based band, Co-Jones and on Saturday, singer songwriter John Otway will take to the stage at lunchtime followed by London blues rock band Nine Below Zero in the evening.

There will also be a nightly ‘Brewerina’, an auction of brewery memorabilia and a hog roast provided by St Albans restaurant Kashu.

2012 Good Beer Guide editor, Roger Protz, will be signing copies of the newly published book on Wednesday and Thursday from 7pm-10pm and Saturday 2pm-7pm. The guide, published on September 15 2011, features St Albans pubs the Blacksmiths Arms, Boot Inn, Garibaldi, Goat Inn, Mermaid, Six Bells, White Hart Tap and White Lion.

The event runs 11am-11pm, September 28- October 1. Entry is �3 (Wed-Fri) or �4 (Sat) and free for CAMRA members. Tickets can be purchased via the Alban Arena box office on 01727 844488.

For the full festival programme and tasting notes, check the festival website