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Previous News (2009 Festival)

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

4th April 2009: Derbyshire Brewer wins Beer of the Festival at the 19th Sussex Beer & Cider Festival

“There was no sign of the credit crunch at the 19th Sussex Beer & Cider Festival recently held at the Hove Centre. A record of over 4,200 people attended the three day festival and nearly drank all the beer”, says Peter Mitchell, Festival Publicity Officer. “Not only was the beer a big attraction but the Cider and Perry bar was completely sold out by 9.00pm despite a late reorder.” The Friday and Saturday night sessions were completely sold out with Thursday evening very busy.

Jaipur IPA from the Thornbridge brewery based at Bakewell, Derbyshire was voted Beer of the Festival. The winning beer is described as “a complex and well balanced beer, hoppy and dangerously drinkable.” Cider of the Festival was JB from West Sussex and Perry of the festival was Gwatkins Oldfield Perry.

Dark Star brewery based at Ansty won the Bev Robbins award presented by the Brighton & Southdowns branch for the best Sussex Beer with their Saison and they also took the first three places in the South East Regional Champion Beer of Britain competition with Imperial Stout in first place, American Pale Ale second and Original third place. Espresso Stout was first in the Speciality Class.

Thanks to the generosity of the festival goers who donated unused tokens, the festival charity the SusSAR benefited by £1,100 and over £ 700 collected in cash boxes.

Next years festival will be held on the 11th – 13th March 2010.

Peter Mitchell
Publicity Officer for the Sussex Beer and Cider Festival

April 2009

22nd March 2009 - The results are in...

The 19th Sussex Beer & Cider was attended by a record-breaking 4,200 over its three days, and 33 new CAMRA members were signed up over the weekend.

The Festival winners, voted for by the attendees, have now been confirmed as follows:

  • Beer of the Festival: Thornbridge Jaipur IPA
  • Cider of the Festival: JB
  • Perry of the Festival: Gwatkins Oldfield Perry
  • In a class of its own! Little Red Rooster Cider Perry
  • Bev Robbins Trophy (for the best Sussex beer): Dark Star Saison

It was a good festival all round for Dark Star, who had 4 of the top 5 in the Bev Robbins voting, the interloper being Adur Black William in 4th place. Adur's St Cuthman's Red Wheelbarrow also scored highly at 7th after established favourite Harveys Old Ale; not a bad showing for a relative newcomer on the scene!

16th March 2009 - All over for another year...

The festival is over, the beer's been drunk, and the stillage all taken down. Many many thanks to all who came along, and hope to see you all again next year (and remember to get your Friday tickets as early as possible, as ever!).

We'll update with details of the beer and cider of the festival and the charity contribution once known, as well as confirmation of the dates for next year (currently pencilled in for Thursday 11th - Saturday 13th March 2010. Cheers!

10th March 2009 - Ticket & Beer update

Most of the beer has now arrived at Hove Town Hall!

On the ticket front, tickets for both lunchtime sessions should be available on the door, and tickets for Thursday night's launch should also be available at the start of the session, but the advice for everyone planning on turning up "on spec" is to turn up early! Saturday night is selling very well and may yet sell out on advance sales alone, whilst Friday night remains sold out. Not long now...

9th March 2009 - Pub & Mail Order Ticket Sales have closed

With just a few days to go, there are no more tickets on sale from the pubs or via mail order. Details of the Hove Centre Box Office are available on the Tickets page, but bear in mind that a booking fee applies.

3rd March 2009 - Beer of the Year comes to Sussex Beer Festival

The climax of the CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale competition to find the best beer in the whole of South East England comes to Hove on 13th March. Over the past year, beers from an area stretching from West Dorset to Kent, Sussex to the Chilterns and London to the Channel Islands have been tasted and sampled and the top 10, representing a diverse range of beer styles, are being judged at the Friday lunchtime session of the Sussex Beer and Cider Festival.

An initial list of some 500 milds, bitters, stouts and barley wines etc. from 100 breweries has been whittled down to just 11, with all of the beers already being champions of their particular style. A panel of experts and enthusiasts will now sample each of these at a blind tasting and decide upon the best beer in the whole of the Region. This will be announced on Friday afternoon as part of a presentation to some of the winning breweries in the competition.

All the finalists will then go forward to represent the Regional in either the Champion Beer of Britain Competition to be held at the Great British Beer Festival in London in August or the Champion Winter Beer of the Year Competition held in Manchester early next year.

CAMRA's coordinator of the competition, Kevin Travers, said, “running this competition has shown me the great diversity of exceptional quality of beer in this area of the Country. Too many pubs, only serve lack lustre, well know brands, when there are excellent alternatives being brewed in every part of the Region. All the finalists are already winners but I'm really looking forward to discovering who the overall champion is.”

The judging for the Regional Beer of the Year Award will take place at the Sussex Beer & Cider Beer Festival on Friday 13 March 2009 at 1p.m. The announcement of the winner and a presentation to all of the Style winners will take place following the conclusion of the judging at approx 2.15p.m.

The London and South East Regional Beer of the Year is part of the Champion Beer of Britain competition.

28th Feb 2009 - Beer List Online! (& Ticket Update)

The provisional beer list is now online, with details of the 210 beers we've got lined up for you, including no less than 73 from Sussex. As ever, the final beers on offer could change at any point, but why not have a look now to whet your appetite?

Please don't hold back from getting hold of your tickets for the festival, though! Details of the latest known situation can be viewed on our Tickets page, but note that tickets for both Saturday sessions are selling well, and there are no longer any Saturday lunch tickets available on Mail Order.

18th Feb 2009 - Friday Night a Sell-out Again!

The lure of good quality real ales, nearly 230 beers plus ciders, perries and a bottled beers has proved too much to the drinkers of Sussex. The 19th Sussex Beer and Cider Festival have sold out on Friday night. All the tickets for Friday night session have been sold over three weeks before the festival is due to open.

“As always the Friday night has proved immensely popular and again was sold out over three weeks before the festival is due to open” said Peter Mitchell, Festival Publicity Officer. “However there are still tickets available for Thursday night and for both sessions on Saturday but these are selling fast”.

The festival is open from the 12th March – 14th March.

Peter Mitchell
Festival Publicity Officer for the Sussex Beer and Cider Festival
February 2009

12th February 2009 - Ticket Update

Only the smallest handful of mail order tickets remain for Friday night - keep an eye on our Tickets page for updates (and consider ringing the hotline on 07784 944277 first if it's Friday evening tickets that you're searching for!)

4th February 2009 - HELP OUT: Staffing Letter & Form now online!

This year's staffing letter and form are now online on our Help Out page, and as your festival is growing, we need even MORE volunteers to make it as much of a success!

1st February 2009 - Cider & Perry Provisional List & Tasting Notes

Details of the 23 ciders and 9 perries pencilled in for the 2009 Festival are now on our Cider/Wine page. The Links page has also had the North Sussex and Western Sussex CAMRA branches links added.

27th January 2009 - Ticket Update

With tickets for the ever-popular Friday night session literally flying out of the door (and as at 30th Jan, sold out from the Brighton & Hove Centre box offices and the Evening Star!), prospective attendees are urged to secure their tickets as soon as possible. Details of ticket outlets is available below, and keep an eye on our Tickets page for details of latest reported availability from our sales venues around the county.

Sussex CAMRA Branches are proud to announce that the 19th Sussex Beer and Cider Festival will be held at Hove Centre, Hove on 12th-14th March 2009.

Sales of real ale are increasing so to cope with the expected big demand, a record number of beers, well over 220, will be available this year plus a large selection of ciders, perries, country wines and British and foreign bottled beers. The downstairs bar has been designated as the Sussex Bar and will be selling only those beers from breweries in Sussex.

The festival sessions with ticket prices are as follows:

Thursday evening 5 pm - 11 pm £3.50
Friday lunch time 11 am - 3 pm £3.00
Friday evening 5 pm - 11 pm £6.00 (NOW SOLD OUT)
Saturday lunch time 11 am - 3 pm £3 .00
Saturday evening 5 pm - 10 pm £5.00 (£3 concessions)

Tickets for the Festival will be available at the usual outlets (Brighton & Hove: Hove & Brighton Centres, Bell, Evening Star, Sir Charles Napier; Shoreham: Buckingham Arms; Horsham: Beer Essentials; Lewes: Gardener's Arms; Worthing: Selden Arms, or by post. For postal applications, please state the session(s) for which you require tickets, and enclose an SAE with your payment, which should be by cheque or Postal Order made payable to “CAMRA Sussex Beer Festival”.

To avoid disappointment on the day it is advisable to buy tickets in advance particularly for the very popular Friday and Saturday evening sessions which always sell out. The ticket price includes a souvenir programme and, for CAMRA members, beer tokens worth £2 on presentation of their membership card. For the Saturday evening, a £2 concession will be available to students buying tickets at the Hove Centre on production of a Students Union card.

There will be no live entertainment on the Friday night but Copperhead will be playing in the Main Hall on Saturday evening.

Hot and cold food plus vegetarian options will be on sale in the balcony area as well as soft drinks, teas and coffees.

This year the festival charity will be SUSSAR, Sussex Search & Rescue.

The Hove Centre has full disabled facilities and is a short walk from Hove Station.

For further information call 07784 944277, or email or go to for further information.

Ursula Lockyer
Festival Organiser

January 2009

13th January 2009

Official press release available here


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