After two dry years, the Newcastle Beer and Cider Festival is back and eager to make up for lost time.
The popular festival, which has been canceled since 2019 due to the pandemic, opens this Wednesday at Northumbria University Students’ Union with a huge range of beers ready to quench that thirst. The news of his return has delighted his fans and the festival, now in its 44th edition, is expected to receive a warm welcome over its four days.
For those planning a visit to sample the best beers and ciders, here’s a guide to the big event.
Read more: Gateshead Beer & Music Festival is back with a bang
Where and when
The festival site will be on the first floor of Northumbria University Students’ Union, which is a short walk from the city’s Haymarket tube station, where it will take place from Wednesday 6 April to Saturday 9 April.
What is offered
More than 100 beers and about 50 ciders and perries as well as other drinks. One to watch will be a newcomer from The Twice Brew House in Northumberland, which celebrates the 1,900th anniversary of Hadrian’s Wall this year. This beer, completely botanical without hops, was made for two years and local archaeologists were also involved in its research and production.
Other participating local breweries include Cullercoats, Firebrick, Hadrian Border, Hexhamshire and Tyne Bank Breweries, while Fyne Ales, Titanic and Tiny Rebel will be among others further afield.
How it works?
A beer token system will be in operation in the bars. Portions will be in half pints (thirds for very strong beers). Tokens will be in denominations of £1.90 and a beer, cider or perry will be one token. Gin might require multiple tokens.
And if you fancy a taste of some real variety, a new option for this year is to swap two standard half-pint tokens for three “third” tokens.
Look for the 2020 mark on the half-pint (£2) glasses. It’s stock that wasn’t used due to the cancellation of the festival that year, so the glass could make a quirky keepsake. Otherwise, it can be returned afterwards for a refund.
Wednesday – Opening time is 6 p.m. (5 p.m. for CAMRA members); last admission is at 10:15 p.m. and bar time at 11 p.m.
Thursday – Open 12 noon; last entry at 10:15 p.m. and bar hour at 11 p.m.
Friday – Open 12 noon; last entry at 10:15 p.m. and bar hour at 11 p.m.
Saturday -Open 12 p.m.; last admission at 4:15 p.m. and call-in time at 5 p.m.
Entrance is £3 (free for CAMRA members). Tickets are by means of a wristband which is required for service in bars.
A fast-track package including five drink tokens, one drink, one program and entry (reduced by £3 for CAMRA members) is available for £14.50.
See online here for more information about the festival and advance sales, but walk-ins are welcome.
What about entertainment?
Wednesday – A Battle of the Beers announcement will take place during the opening session.
Thursday – From 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., an acoustic set by Jonny Pollard will be followed from 9:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. by the rock quintet Dead Hand.
Friday – 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., singer Bradley Thompson then, 9:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Los Capitanes with Spanish influences.
Saturday – 2:30 p.m. Blistered Molly will play classic rock covers.
Anything else to know?
Thursday is the festival’s Silly Hat Day, where staff and visitors are encouraged to wear imaginative headgear.
Charities for this year’s festival are St Oswald’s Hospice and Mind Tyneside and Northumberland so visitors can have the chance to help bail out the coffers.