In no particular order we have the following events:
ROLFest (Republic of Liverpool Beer Festival) takes place in Crosby at St. Luke’s Parish Hall on Liverpool road between 25th and 27th April (yes, I know this technically cheating, but with it being a new festival and only a week before it deserves a mention if only to whet the May appetite). It is likely at this stage there will be tickets left on the door, with a tax of £6 this isn’t exorbitant; there are 70 beers on offer and ciders/perries too. More information can be found here: [http://www.rolfest.com/].
The latest instalment of the ever-successful Waterloo Beer Festival is taking place from 1st May until 4th May with its usual arrangement of day and evening sessions braced with around 200 different beers on offer. The venue remains the same as previous festivals in the Old Christchurch; just 5-10 minutes walk from Waterloo Station on the Northern Line between Southport and Liverpool. More information can be found here: [http://www.waterloobeerfestival.com/].
The Mad Hatter Brewing Company continue building on the momentum and good will that has greeted them since setting up only a year or so ago. Their relocation from meagre premises to the Baltic Triangle in Liverpool’s so-called ‘creative quarter’ is going ahead over the next few weeks and will be crowned with a Micro-brewery Tap opening and mini-festival. The launch event at the brewtap, located on the corner of Watkinson and Jamaica Street will take place on Friday 2nd May from 5pm until 10pm, Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th from 12 until 5pm. More information is here: [http://madhatterbrewing.co.uk/].
Further afield, but taking place in its 19th year, the Eagle and Child Beer Festival in Bispham Green near Parbold/Mawdesley is a great festival running from the 1st May until the 4th. It doesn’t carry the same variety of some larger festivals, with a smaller programme, but it does have much more serene surroundings in the Lancashire countryside. The Eagle and Child is a superb country establishment and their attention to detail at the pub usually translates into the festival being well organised, affordable and should the weather be kind, perfect outdoors! If the weather is less than kind, there is a large marquee to take some shelter, getting to the venue early will usually mean getting a seat without issue. More details are given here when they update their site: [http://www.ainscoughs.co.uk/The-Eagle-Child/special-events.html].
Over in Manchester, one of the excellent drinking holes on Grosvenor Street by the university campus is Sandbar, which is planning its Spring Beer Festival on the 2nd and 3rd May. Information is currently sparse on the event online, but they do state the following: “Starting from 5.00 pm, our pop-up festival bar will have eight different beers on sale each night in addition to our eight handpulls on the main bar. We will be serving a good selection of local ales with an emphasis on seasonal and fruit beers. Breweries tbc.” More information here: [http://gmcr.alenewsnet.com/calendar/sandbar-spring-beer-festival-2014/].
Heading North beyond Bispham Green and the Eagle and Child towards Preston and out to Darwen, there are three festivals that are advertised as beer and sausage festivals (no sniggering at the back, I can see you…). The 3rd Fulwood and Broughton County Cricket event is taking place on the 2nd until the 4th May at the Cricket Club. Entry to the Festival is free running from 6pm in the evenings until 11pm on the Friday, with Saturday and Sunday sessions running from 1pm until 11pm. The second festival of note takes place from the 3rd May until the 5th May at the Crown Inn pub on Redearth Road in Darwen, which states there will be many cask ales on and lots of different sausages on offer (stop it). More here: [http://www.thecrowndarwen.com/events_pages/real-ale-cider-and-sausage-festival-3456.html].
The third festival is the Whittingham Beer and Sausage festival (seriously… what’s the with the sausage fascination?); which also takes place on the 2nd to the 4th May at Whittingham Club with a £3 door tax (including commemorative glass), taking in around 50 different beers and ciders. More information here: [http://www.whittinghamclub.com/beerfest].
Down in Chester, there are two notable events taking place in some of the city’s establishments. The Pied Bull has a beer festival with some of its own beers taking centre stage from 1st to the 4th May in the pub. There’s not too much information floating around on the net at the moment, though they have been putting information up via their Twitter feed - @PiedInn [https://twitter.com/PiedInn]. The Kash Tap Rooms are also rumoured to have a festival going on at their establishment from 2nd to the 4th May, although details are extremely Spartan.
For something less ale orientated, there is a day of food celebration over at the Scarisbrick Food Fayre, taking place at Vincent’s Garden Centre near to Southport. This event is free entry and on the 4th to the 4th May, starting at 10am and finishing up at 4pm, the Southport Road nursery will feature some local food and drink heroes and ‘artisan producers’ displaying their wares. More information here: [http://scarisbrickfoodfayre.wordpress.com/].
Finally, on a non-gastro tip we mustn’t forget that Liverpool Sound City is taking place from the 1st to the 3rd May in the city. Lots of goings on will be had there, best thing to do is check the website: [http://www.liverpoolsoundcity.co.uk/].
That’s about it round-up wise, but the next article will be the write up of the Battle of the Breweries event (round 1) which took place in Liverpool (held by yours truly with some remarkable help). Pictures, scores, winning breweries and people who won prizes are all covered in the article, which will hopefully become the first of many such events. There were a few surprises for the attendees, with them wary of their pre-conceptions into certain breweries at stake. I suggest that it’ll be a must read for anyone interested in attending or getting involved!
Until the next article….