Thousands pack into St Albans Beer Festival

RECORDS were broken at the four-day St Albans Beer Festival enjoyed by more than 9,000 thirsty drinkers last week.

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), which organised the event at the Alban Arena, said even more people would have attended but for torrential rain on two of the four days.

The beer festival – run this year in conjunction with the St Albans Food Festival – sold 400 cask ales plus 70 foreign beers and 40 ciders and perries.

Festival organiser John Bishop even had to re-stock some of the beers on Friday (October 1) to make sure there were sufficient supplies for the final day on Saturday which saw peak attendance.

Drinkers voted a Hertfordshire beer, Buntingford Brewery’s Royston Red, the Beer of the Festival, and around 125 people joined CAMRA.

Donations from the proceeds were made to local charities, bringing the total raised for good causes by the festival in its 15-year history up to around �30,000.

He also said that the St Albans event is now one of the premier festivals run by CAMRA, which has its head office in Hatfield Road where 25 staff look after a fast-growing membership of 120,000.

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When the festival was first mooted in the 1990s, CAMRA was warned that it would never take off as St Albans has a large number of pubs. But beer choice was poor in the mid-1990s and the festival has not only attracted beer lovers from all over Britain and Europe but has also encouraged local publicans to improve the range of beers they offer.

Next year’s festival will help celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of CAMRA.


n Roger Protz edits the CAMRA Good Beer Guide.