Reading Beer and Cider Festival opens tomorrow
April 26, 2011
The widest selection of real ales in the country has arrived in Reading for an annual celebration of beer and cider.
More than 600 different beers will be available to punters at the Reading Beer and Cider Festival tomorrow and organisers have been working around the clock to make sure this year’s event is not just the biggest yet but the best yet too.
Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) volunteers come from as far away as Canada to help staff the festival which runs from Wednesday, April 27, to, Sunday, May 1, and the first volunteers arrived at the King’s Meadow Site off Napier Road last Tuesday to start preparations.
Chief steward Liz Taylor said: “We have about 140 volunteers on the site in the run-up to the festival and then we’ll have 800 volunteers through the festival.
“Most of us are local but we have a couple that come from Belgium and Germany and even one who comes from Canada.”
Most of the beers are already on site and, as they settle so they are in perfect condition for the festival, they are being guarded 24-hours-a-day.
Chris Wells, a project manager for Network Rail for most of the year, has taken several weeks off work to help set up the festival – a job he has done since 2006.
He said: “The bar staff are all volunteers, although they are paid in beer tokens, and very enthusiastic about their beers so they make sure it’s all in perfect condition.”
Reading Beer and Cider Festival has the largest range of beers of any festival in the UK – almost one in every four beers brewed in the country will be available, as well as a range of ciders and perries and some English wines. There will also be foreign beers, a selection of fine food stalls, pub games and activities for younger visitors.
Local bands including Amy’s Ghost and Smokey B*****d will play over the weekend, as well as folk act Leather Rat.
Mr Wells added: “We’re lucky to get Leather Rat – they’re very good and they’re big cider drinkers so we managed to twist their arm.”
The festival opens from 6pm to 11pm on Wednesday, 2pm to 11pm on Thursday, 11am to 11pm on Friday and Saturday and noon until the beer runs out or 7pm, whichever comes sooner, on Sunday.
Entrance costs £7 on Wednesday, £8 on Thursday, £10 on Friday and Saturday and £3 on Sunday. CAMRA members get in for £3 all throughout.