The first Harleston Beer Festival was held over the weekend on Friday 31 May and Saturday 1 June. This was a wonderful occasion for fans of real ale, with 23 beers from seven different brewers and four ciders. All of the drinks available were produced within 15 miles of Harleston, which shows how lucky beer drinkers are to live here.
Representatives from the Mid Anglia branch of CAMRA judged the beers. The bronze award was given to Wortwell Bell 924 from Bull of the Woods, silver award to Stain Glass Blue Porter from Star Wing Brewery, and the gold award for the star beer of the festival was given to Cocow Stout from the Ampersand Brewery.
In addition to the marvellous beer, there was live music and freshly cooked food on both days. Enthusiastic crowds enjoyed both days – more than 600 people attended – with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere throughout. Those who attended even have a special festival glass as a memory of the occasion.
The festival was arranged by The Harleston and District Round Table and hosted by The Swan Hotel, with proceeds going to support the local community. Many thanks to the many local businesses in sponsoring glasses, the marquee, shirts, stage and the beer itself. Without their generous support the festival could not have been held. The beer festival has only recently closed, but I already look forward to the next one.