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Cambridge beer fest is one of the best

Added: Wednesday, May 23rd 2018

Cambridge Beer Fest

There are three days left so make a big effort to attend one of the all-time great beer festivals. It’s in Cambridge and it’s not only the longest-running CAMRA beer festival – this year is the 45th – but it rivals the mighty Great British festival in size.

The festival destroys all those hoary old myths about CAMRA events. It’s not all beards and sandals. It may be helped by Cambridge being a university city, but the crowds are young with an even split between men and women.

When I arrived shortly after the evening session started at 5pm on Wednesday at Jesus Green, there was already a long queue waiting to get in. There was a separate entrance for CAMRA members and they were notable by their young age and made up of both genders.

The festival is the only one run by CAMRA that lasts for six days, one more than GBBF. Organiser Anthony Cox told me there were an astonishing 450 volunteers running the event that occupies 20,000 square metres with plenty of outside seating and a vast marquee that holds 3,000 people. It takes this small army of people -- who give up their holidays and free time to run the festival -- a week to put it up and another week to take it down.

There are 216 beers on offer, along with cider, perry, wine and mead. While the festival concentrates on beers from eastern England there are many from all over the UK, as far away as Aberdeen. I was pleased to see 3 Brewers from St Albans and my recently discovered Hornes from Milton Keynes.

As well as supping, visitors are encouraged to vote for the beers of the festival and the local area judging for the annual Champion Beer of Britain competition also takes place.

There’s food a-plenty and the festival is child and dog friendly.

The most astonishing fact about the festival is that it attracts almost as many visitors as GBBF – last year 44,500 drinkers poured into Jesus Green.

The beers – representing every style in the book – are in impeccable condition and the weather is set fare for the rest of the week.

Head for Cambridge – one of the greatest of all beer festivals.

*Picture: Cambridge Evening News