Report by Jodie Nesling
Ale lovers rejoice as the Planet Thanet Beer Festival returns.
The festival will run on Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20 and will be open from noon daily in Margate Winter Gardens. The event will feature a choice of up to 200 real ales, bottles of speciality and foreign beers as well as 70-plus ciders and perries. It will be showcasing a selection of local breweries and distinctive ales as well as offerings from across the UK – some of which will be making a first appearance in Thanet.
Thanet CAMRA member and organiser Jo Walbank said: “We are delighted to be staging our 14th Easter Beer and Cider Festival in such a wonderful building and look forward to a record breaking year.”
As well as a plentiful supply of beers there will be a range of good quality hot and cold food plus snacks catered by the Winter Gardens plus soft drinks for drivers. The festival will feature live music from Gaddzukes on both Friday and Saturday. Accompanied children will be welcome until 7pm.
Entry is free on both days to all CAMRA members and non-members can pay on the door. Doors open at midday on both days but card carrying CAMRA members can gain fast track entry on Friday from 11am.
Volunteer co-ordinator Peter Jaquiss said: “Each year we are truly amazed by the dedication and enthusiasm of our volunteers who give up their time freely to get the event set up, serving during the festival and taking it back down again.”
Become a beer expert
Visitors to the festival will also be among the first to experience CAMRA’s new learning and discovery space, aimed at helping more beer-lovers become experts on their favourite drink.
Brewers from Wantsum and Gadds will be on hand to guide visitors through comparative tastings where they can explore different forms of dispense including cask, key keg and can. The brewers will give talks on the brewing process and introduce the unique ingredients that go into making a real ale.
Festival-goers will be able to try a collaborative beer made by Thanet’s Wantsum Brewery and San Diego’s Thorn Brew Co. The Transatlantic Fog is a vegan-friendly 6% ABV hazy IPA. Usually only dispensed in key keg, the Thanet festival is the only place to sample the cask version of the brew, which will be available in the comparative taste testing.
Also available to sample will be a limited quantity of Gadd’s No.11 – an unfiltered, full flavour and low alcohol (1.2%) IPA available in can and keykeg.
The learning and discovery space is part of a new initiative by CAMRA to fulfil its commitment to play a leading role in the provision of information, education and training to all those with an interest in beer, cider and perry of any type.
It follows the successful pilot at Manchester Beer & Cider Festival and will be coordinated by CAMRA’s Learning & Discovery manager, Alex Metcalfe.
Alex said: “Our aim in bringing the learning and discovery space to Thanet is to give festival goers the chance to take part in fun and informal activities that can help improve their knowledge of real ale.
“The local CAMRA organisers saw the success in Manchester and wanted to bring this offering to the people in Thanet. We’re delighted to be able to help them make this offering a reality this year, and hope local residents take the opportunity to come along and discover more about the nation’s favourite drink.”
Nick Gurr, press officer for Thanet CAMRA added: “It is very exciting to be asked to host the second learning and discovery space at our festival. We hope attendees will enjoy the activities and the chance to interact with brewers first hand! We would also like to thank Andy (Wantsum), Gav (Ramsgate), James & Claire (Iron Pier) and Carl (London Tavern) for volunteering their time.”
To get involved visit www.thanet-camra.org.uk
Beer Fest facts
3,000 visitors over two days
c.200 cask ales
Speciality and foreign beers on bottle bar
Over 70 cider and perries
Good Friday 19/4 midday bar closes 9.30pm (fast track entry for card carrying CAMRA members at 11am)
Saturday 20/4 midday bar closes 6.30pm
Entry £6 on Friday and £3 on Saturday
Entertainment on both days