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Previous News (2012 Festival)

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

27 March 2012: Award winners announced

Nearly 4,200 people attended the recently held 22nd Sussex Beer & Cider Festival. “We nearly ran out of beer and cider on the Saturday night” says Ingrid Sharp, Festival Organiser: “this only shows that the popularity of real ale and cider is increasing”.

  • Beer of the Festival: Hop Back Entire Stout based at Downton, Wiltshire
  • Bev Robbins Trophy for Best Sussex Beer: Kissingate Mary’s Ruby Mild
  • Cider of the Festival: Gwatkins Norman Cider
  • Perry of the Festival: Troggi Perai
  • South East Regional Champion Beer of Britain: Dark Star Imperial Stout

Thanks to the generosity of the festival goers who donated unused tokens, the festival charity, Leo House Brighton, benefited by £1309. £531 was also collected in cash. Kissingate Brewery based at Lower Beeding kindly donated a barrel of ale which raised £127.

Next year's festival will provisionally be held on the 28th February - 2nd March 2013, and more information will be available on this website as and when we have it.

Peter Mitchell
Publicity Officer for the Sussex Beer and Cider Festival
March 2012

12 March 2012: Another year down...

Many thanks to the hundreds of you who came to enjoy the festival over the past weekend, and very special thanks to the dozens of volunteers who gave up their time freely in order to make it happen!

A beer festival of this scale is a little like a swan - we all want it to appear calm and graceful on the surface; meanwhile, under the water, large leathery feet are paddling away like mad! Whilst we hoped we made it look like a swan for most of the time, there were two issues that we'd like to explain briefly (and may be able to expand upon in due course):

  • Firstly, the beer list: running a festival hinging on promoting a temperamental, living product is always going to pose special challenges, which is why some beers invariably end up hitting condition late (or not all), and some don't even leave the brewery in a state that the brewer's happy with (usually ending up in the odd substitute beer here and there). What happened last week, despite the sterling efforts of our exasperated beer coordinator, was a supplier let us down badly and at the last minute with nearly 40 beers, meaning a whole raft of substitutions (nearly 20% of our entire provisional list!) had to be sourced, racked up on the stillage (ruining our carefully planned alphabetic order!) and then conditioned. Our hugely experienced cellar team will not let us sell a beer that they don't believe is in tip-top condition and good to go, hence a lot of beers were held back from Thursday night's session (and, in some cases, Friday lunch as well). Whilst we did our best to spread the word, both in person and via paper lists asnd blackboard updates at the Festival, and remotely via Twitter, Facebook and the Blogger feed at the foot of this page, we do again apologise if you had your heart set on a particular beer only to find it unavailable when you asked for it. Still, the whole point of these festivals is to give you the opportunity to try new beers...
  • Secondly, the catering: unfortunately, and unbeknownst to both the festival organisers and to our caterers, the power supply arrangements to the Main Hall kitchen had changed since last year, leading to a number of challenges in trying to get enough food out to hungry punters at key times. Rather than walk away, our caterers valiantly soldiered on in the face of this, and we thank them for their professionalism and effort in doing so. We would, however, still like to apologise to any festival visitors and volunteers who were affected by these delays.

The organising team have a wash-up session in early April, so if there's anything you wish to bring to our attention, please drop a line to the email on our Contact Us page.

7 March 2012: One day to go...

The beers are conditioning nicely as I type, the (newly-updated list of) bottled beers are in place and the ciders, perries, meads and wines are all ready and waiting for your enjoyment (but please don't be too disappointed if you find things have sold out - that's the nature of the festival!).

There are still some tickets remaining for 4 of the 5 sessions (i.e. not Friday evening), and these will be available "on the door" until sold out. Attendees at other sessions can also buy tickets for the remaining sessions whilst they are at the Hove Centre. Please see the Tickets page for details of session times and prices.

29 February 2012: Supporting Sussex breweries

There are twenty four breweries both large and small brewing in Sussex and beers from most of them will be on sale in the LocAle Bar at the 22nd Sussex Beer and Cider Festival due to be held at Hove Centre on the 8th-10th March.

“It has been a long time since there were so many breweries in the county and at least four new breweries will start brewing later this year” said Peter Mitchell Festival Publicity Officer. “There is a vast range of quality real ales now being produced in Sussex and nationally”.

Tickets for the festival are still available but Friday night has already sold out. Please remember that advance sales will end on Sat 3 March.

11 Feburary 2012: Rest of the UK Beer List added

There's still a few beers to be added, but you can view the first cut of the provisional list here. We've also updated the cider and perry list as well.

26 January 2012: Friday night confirmed as SOLD OUT

All tickets for the Friday night session have sold out in record time. Plenty of tickets remain (at the moment) for the other four sessions, but please do get hold of your tickets in good time to avoid disappointment!

23 January 2012: Cider & Perry List and tasting notes added

Over 50 ciders and perries await thirsty visitors to the festival - check out the list here, or download the tasting notes for more detail.

In Ticket news, the Evening Star has now sold out leaving a very small number of postal tickets available (mail order only - no personal callers please).

22 January 2012: Friday night 95% sold out

As at lunchtime today, only 50 tickets remained for the ever-popular Friday night session, with a handful of these at the Evening Star in Brighton and the rest through mail order. All other outlets are sold out and no further tickets can be made available. Don't delay if you want tickets; if you do miss out, don't be too down-heartened, as plenty of tickets remain for all of the other sessions and, with more beer than ever before, there should still be a decent choice of beers come Saturday night's final session.

21 January 2012: Sussex LocALE Beer List added

The first of our draught beer lists is now online here, and you can also download a 74kb pdf file of the tasting notes (as per the programme) from here. Happy planning!

(By the way, this isn't a "multimedia drip marketing strategy" or somesuch - as soon as we get the lists, we're getting them online for your delight and delectation!)

19 January 2012: Wine list and first time guide added

Updates are coming thick and fast at the moment!

  • Firstly, here's an indication of the wines that Lurgashall Winery plan to have on offer
  • Secondly, for anyone who's tempted to come along for the first time but is unsure what to expect, we've a brief First Time Visitor guide (but we're still welcome to more questions!).
  • Finally, I've been asked to remind any budding volunteers that the application process is strictly "old school" and by post (sorry, but it helps make it much easier to organise!).

18 January 2012: Staffing Form now online

Our Staffing Form is now available via the Help Out page, along with a run-down of the sorts of jobs you can volunteer for. We're also planning to get a "First Time Volunteer?" FAQ online in the next couple of weeks, to help remove some of the uncertainty (don't worry - we all had to start sometime too!).

17 January 2012: Tickets selling FAST + bottled beer list

Friday night is already heading for a sell-out with 3 ticket outlets selling out in less than 2 days of sales! The Brighton & Hove Centre Box Offices and Beer Essentials have sold out of their allocation, as the Evening Star (although there may be a few more made available later this week) so, if you're wanting to go, make sure to get along to one of our other outlets SOON (or by mail order, if you're quick!) - last year's record of just under 2 weeks is already looking under threat!

Our intrepid organisers are already beginning to put together the all-important beer and cider lists, and the first one ready for your delight and delectation is our selection of Bottled Beers, which this year sees the return of Gueuze alongside a strong selection of UK bottle-conditioned and German, Belgian and American craft beers.

16 January 2012: Press Release: tickets on sale NOW!

Real ale continues to out perform in the UK beer market and now has a 15 % share. To cope with the expected big demand, there will be nearly 230 beers on sale at the 22nd Sussex Beer & Cider Festival (to be held at Hove Town Hall 8th-10th March) plus a large selection of ciders, perries, country wines and British and foreign bottled beers. The downstairs bar has been designated as the LocAle Bar and will be selling only beers from all the breweries in Sussex.

The festival sessions with ticket prices are as follows:-

  • Thursday evening (5pm-11pm) £4
  • Friday lunchtime (11am-3pm) £2
  • Friday evening (5pm-11pm) £7
  • Saturday lunchtime (11am-3pm) £4
  • Saturday evening (5pm-10pm) £6 (£3 concessions)

Advance tickets for the Festival will be on sale from the 16th January to 4th March at the usual outlets and by post. It's also possible to buy online directly from the Hove Centre (subject to a booking fee per ticket).

As record attendances are expected and to avoid disappointment on the day, it is advisable to buy tickets in advance for ALL sessions. 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, half price tickets will be available to students buying tickets at the Hove Centre on production of a Students Union card. If you look under 25 please bring ID.

Common Tongues will be the live entertainment on Saturday night in the Main Hall.

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

This year the festival charity will be Leo House at Home, Brighton

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

For all enquiries call 07807 105803 or email

Peter Mitchell
Publicity Officer for the Sussex Beer and Cider Festival
January 2011

December 2011: Press Release

The 22nd Sussex Beer and Cider Festival organised by the Sussex branches of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), will be held at the Hove Centre, Hove on the 8th – 10th March 2012.

As sales of real ale are increasing, there will be nearly 230 traditional beers on sale to cope with the expected big demand. There will be ciders, perries, country wines as well as British and foreign bottled beers on sale. There is live entertainment on Saturday night. Hot and cold food will be available at all times.

For any further information regarding the festival, please keep an eye on this website or call 07807 105803.

Tickets will go on sale on January 16th at all the usual outlets.

Peter Mitchell
Publicity Officer for the Sussex Beer and Cider Festival
December 2011

21 November 2011: Editorial from Sussex Drinker Winter 2011

Following the tremendous success of last year, this year we will have more beer than ever to acknowledge the growing popularity of the Sussex CAMRA Beer & Cider Festival with almost twice as many people attending last year than 10 years ago. To keep it an enjoyable, as well as busy, event for all, we need more volunteers to help us with the festival. Staffing forms will be available from our website or by post from January onwards.

For those who wish to remain punters, tickets will be available from 16th January to 4th March at all the usual outlets: Evening Star and the Sir Charles Napier in Brighton, the Gardeners Arms in Lewes, the Buckingham Arms in Shoreham, the Selden Arms in Worthing and the Beer Essentials in Horsham. Brighton Centre Box Office ( is also selling tickets again, but please remember that there is a booking fee, when buying tickets through their website or phone line. No tickets are sold at Hove Town Hall, other than at the door during the festival itself.

Finally, tickets can be ordered via mail order from SCBCF Ticket Sales, 13 Rudyard Road, Woodingdean, Brighton BN2 6UB. Please state which session(s) you require and enclose a 9x4 SAE with your payment. Cheques or postal orders should be made payable to ‘Sussex CAMRA Beer Festival'. Refunds will only be given via mail order and only until 4th March. (Please get in touch if you would like to take this role over in 2013, as Alan is stepping down after this year. Many thanks to him for helping us for the last five years.)

Altogether we will have 200+ different Real Ales and more than 40 ciders and perries to start off with. The wine bar is being run by Lurgashall Winery and will offer a selection of English Wines, Honey Meads, Fruit Liqueurs & Country Wines from producers across the South as well as a selection of Spanish Wines & Cavas. Due to the efforts of a new member of the organising committee, the bottled beer bar will feature carefully selected Real Ales in a Bottle and speciality beers from all over the world. There will also be a variety of tasty food, including vegetarian & vegan options. Smart T’s also will be back with some cool new T-shirts, and Kaz and Camilla from Ace Faces will be painting faces and temporary tattoos to bring a bit more colour to the festival during the Friday and Saturday sessions. Local painter Richard Stone ( designed again the eyecatching festival logo.

Saturday evening entertainment is provided by the Brighton five piece band The Common Tongues. They were voted in the top 5 of "best new acts in Brighton" via the Brighton Music Awards. Their unique foot-tapping style can be best described as infectious indie folk. This year they played well received shows at both "Bestival" and "The Secret Garden Party" festivals.

All bars operate a token system, where one token has the value of 10p. Token refunds can be given only for whole £s and before time is called at the bar. Surplus tokens as well as other donations go to this year’s festival charity, Leo House at Home, which is a local charity funding specialist nurses who care for life-limited children in their own homes.

Opening times and prices can be seen on our Tickets page. The ticket price includes a free souvenir glass and a programme. Card carrying CAMRA members will receive beer tokens worth £2 from the CAMRA membership stand. Holders of a valid NUS card get Saturday evening tickets at half price, when purchasing tickets in person at the Brighton Box Office or at the door. If you look as if you could be under 25, please bring a photo ID to prove your age! Sorry, but no admission for under 18’s at the evening sessions, and no access at any time to any of the bar areas. Bags may be inspected at all times.

There will be also be a Trade Session on Thursday 3-5 pm, where there will be the opportunity to sample up to 10 different products and speak to producers and purveyors. Traders, who have not received a ticket by 18th February 2012 and wish to attend, are asked to request one.

Finally, please bear in mind that at Real Ale festivals beer runs out. It is impossible to rack up new beer, as it must settle for a couple of days before it can be served. The earlier you get to the festival the greater the choice. I am already looking forward to it!

Ingrid Sharp
Festival Organiser



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