02 June 2015

5th annual Newbury Racecourse Beer Festival

 The 5th annual Newbury Racecourse Beer Festival was held on 17/18 April, 2015 at Newbury Racecourse, Berkshire, UK.
Newbury Racecourse advertise the beer festival in local Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) magazines including Ullage, the West Berkshire CAMRA magazine. CAMRA members qualify for half price entry to the Grandstand section of the racecourse by booking tickets in advance.
The Beer Festival area has an area near the Grandstand entrance to the racecourse which includes picnic tables and an open ended marquee. A smaller tent with a stage provided shelter for musical performances.

Bar staff poured beer from casks or cider from boxes into branded plastic glasses.
Queues at the bar would build up after the end of a race but by the time another race was about to start there would be only a few people at the bar.
As I was there for the beer rather than the racing it was sensible to wait until a race was about to start before heading to the bar to order another beer!

There were printed programmes, in dispensers at the bar, with tasting notes and details of all the beers available at the festival.
West Berkshire Brewery sourced beers for the festival and their flagship beer 'Good Old Boy' was advertised above the stillage for the beer casks.
Another local brewery, Two Cocks Brewery, based at Enborne supplied four beers including Frank-Ale which is supplied exclusively to the racecourse and is named after the horse Frankel, a popular winner at Newbury.

The tasting notes in the beer festival programme covered the 44 beers that were available including beers from Fuller's, Springhead Brewery (Southwell), Binghams Brewery (Ruscombe), White Horse Brewery (Faringdon), Arbor Ale (Bristol) and Windsor & Eton Brewery.
On Saturday 18 April, my friend Pat (2nd from right in photo above) was beginning his stag event at the beer festival and so good company was available as well as good beer and plenty of sunshine!

As well as supplying some beers for the beer festival including Oliver's Island, Fuller's also brought their dray to the racecourse pulled by the drayhorses Griffin and Pride.
The Crafty Filly is the pub at the racecourse located in the Premier Enclosure. Two Cocks Frank-ale is served throughout the season at this pub near the Premier entrance to the racecourse.
Also in the Premier Enclosure was a Barrel Bar. I spoke to the guys inside who told me the bar was originally made in Austria and is now usually based at Goodwood in Sussex.
Inside the bar were cask ales from Hepworth & Co Brewers Ltd (Horsham) and ciders from Wobblegate (West Sussex).


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