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All good things come with 23...

The 29th Festival will be held on Fri 22nd - Sat 23rd March 2019 once again at Brighton Racecourse.

[This article was drafted for the Sussex Drinker magazine]

Thank you for attending the 23rd Sussex Beer and Cider festival. We saw yet again 4,200 lovely people (most of you come every year; I know, because I recognise your faces). Visitors, volunteers and organisers enjoyed a thoroughly pleasant festival. A nice change from last year, when the festival seemed to be governed by Murphy’s Law…

We had some novelties this year. We removed the seating in the Sussex Bar, so that access to the bar was a lot easier. This led to more beer being drunk in the Sussex Bar, leaving a greater choice in the main bar until the end. Paul Allison, our webmaster, provided up to date online information on the availability of the beers, so that those of you who use this technology knew what to expect, or not any more, as the case may have been.

Another highlight were this year’s caterers, the Real Meat Sausage Company, who served excellent food at reasonable prices, and best of all, one didn’t have to wait for it. We hope they come again. We also had lots of fun with the band on Saturday evening, The Last of the Wild. Fortunately, they were free to stand in for the Sex Pirates, who cancelled their performance due to the illness of one of their musicians. We wish her a full recovery and hope to see them next year instead.

On the downside, there were fewer volunteers running this year’s festival than ever. We need desperately more helpers. Please consider volunteering next year, especially for the evening sessions. Apart from free beer samples, you get a hot meal, a T-Shirt, transport home and you make new friends.

As every year, we counted your votes on the feedback forms for several awards. The award of Beer of the Festival goes to Tiny Rebel Brewery for their Urban IPA; Cider and Perry of the Festival are Oakwood’s Organic Cider and Barbourne’s Blakeney Red, respectively. The Bev Robbins Trophy goes to Harvey’s Brewery for their Prince of Denmark.

Thanks to your generosity, this year’s festival charity Dolphin House benefited by £1,478. A further £287.20 was collected in cash. Kissingate Brewery based at Lower Beeding kindly donated a cask of their Mary’s Ruby Mild, which raised a further £180 and Ace Faces donated a further £20.

Altogether, we enjoyed about 18,000 pints with more than 300 (!) different flavours. This is a fine example how CAMRA has done wonders for the beer culture. In Cologne, where I live now, most people still drink loyally their local beer and nothing else. Trying something different, however, appeals to an increasing number of people. Real Ale is classed a Craft Beer here, and particularly IPA’s and stouts are gaining popularity. On 25/26 May there is a festival of beer culture… And as I am busy promoting Real Ale elsewhere, Peter Mitchell and John Kirkland have agreed to organise next year’s festival for you. Congratulations, Peter and John, it’s all a lot of fun! Planning has already commenced for next year’s festival which is due to be held on the 6th, 7th & 8th of March 2014.

See you next year then. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Ingrid Sharp




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