Cambridge Edition May 2023 - Web


HOP OVER Join the fun at the UK’s longest running CAMRA beer fest and taste test a range of beer, mead, cider and wine from local and international breweries a couple of months in advance, so sampling is sometimes not an option,” Anthony says. “The team will contact some of the local breweries early to enquire if they would be interested in producing a special beer in relation to the theme of the festival. They then use their knowledge of interesting brewers throughout the UK to see which beers will be available and what can be supplied for the event. “The beer selection team have a varied mix of taste preferences, as it results in a much better range of beers available for the public to try.” If beer is not your cup of tea, there are ciders, wines and meads aplenty, along with a tantalising cheese counter. Above all, the festival champions local breweries. “In common with the rest of the country, a lot of our local producers sadly face problems getting their product into pubs, because so many beer pumps and taps are tied to national and global producers,” Anthony adds. The festival acts as the perfect platform for their pints. Part of what makes Cambridge Beer Festival such a pivotal event is the community that has surrounded it ever since it was founded in 1974. CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) kick-started it: “Nobody really knew exactly what was involved, since CAMRA had never run a festival before,” recalls Anthony. “But it turned out to be popular.” He joined as a volunteer in 2012, before taking the helm himself in 2018. “I understood from previously visiting the festival as a customer that they were constantly short on volunteers, so I decided to try at a session, and enjoyed it so much that I ended up working for the whole week.” Anthony has been hooked ever since. “The volunteers themselves are what make me continue to enjoy helping out at the festival – they are very much like a large family that comes together once a year to do something fun and rewarding.”


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