Beverley Real Ale Festival to unveil brewers' best-kept secrets
BEERS such as Brown Cow, Macaroni Penguin and Big Red are a well-kept secret.
Brewed by small companies across East Yorkshire, these – and dozens of other fine ales – are normally served only to a few happy regulars in village pubs.
But this weekend they will be enjoyed by hundreds at Beverley's first Real Ale Festival.
The festival is being organised by James Harper, owner of design and marketing business Harper Creative, and Paul East, landlord of The New Inn in Leven.
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"I think we've got something like 28 different brewers," Mr East said.
"We've been doing a festival in Leven for about three years and we just thought Beverley would be an amazing place to have one."
The beer will be served within the ancient stone walls of St Mary's Church in Beverley town centre.
Mr Harper said the spot was an ideal place to enjoy a pint.
"We couldn't believe Beverley had never really had a festival in the town before," he said.
"We're going to get tons of people into the church and have a real buzz about St Mary's and the wonderful place that it is.
"It's good fun, it's about local produce and it's win-win."
St Mary's even has its own beer, produced by Great Newsome brewery. It was named White Rabbit by social network users, after a hare sculpture at the church, said to have inspired Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland.
"We're really pleased to have the festival beer, White Rabbit," Mr Harper said.
"The public voted and they came up with the name.
"It's a cracking beer as well, so I think it's going to go very quickly.
The beer was launched at the New Inn last week by Olympic hammer thrower Alex Smith.
Mr East said it sold out in just 72 hours.
"The White Rabbit is absolutely brilliant," he said.
"It went in about three days, on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, which is unheard of."
The festival is supported by the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra).
Group member Paul Ashton will be helping out behind the bar when St Mary's throws open its doors tonight.
"I'm looking forward to this. It's a great venue," he said.
"It's a naturally cool venue, with stone floors, so we can't damage anything. And there's the beautiful surroundings of the church and its stained-glass windows."
He hopes to see a good turnout.
"A lot of Camra members live in Hull but we're hoping to get a few along," he said.
"I'm looking forward to Macaroni Penguin from Bird Brain brewery in Goole. It's probably a first brew.
Another brew that will be available is Burnout – a vegan beer by Brass Castle Brewery in collaboration with the University of York Real Ale Society.
The festival kicks off tonight, with a ticket-only evening. All 400 tickets have now been sold.
On Saturday from noon, it will be open to all, although anyone hoping to sample the beer must pay £2.50 for a pint glass.
Music will be provided by a Morris dancing group, Leven soloist Laura Prescott and Beverley Brass Band.
The festival's main sponsor is Westfield Home Buyers.
Its other sponsors are the Mail, Harper Creative, The New Inn, Great Newsome Brewery and Wold Top Brewery.
It is being supported by St Mary's Church, Beverley Town Council and De Lacy Spa.