The Rise of Craft Beer and Real Ale at Summer Events and Festivals

Article Written by Peter Spence

Any music festival-goer who enjoys their ale or craft beer has had good reason to feel somewhat overlooked when it comes to the bar menu in the average festival bar tent. More often than not the options have been limited to lager or cider, and usually just the one brand of each.

However, this state of affairs has begun to change as a number of summer music festivals are now beginning to introduce craft beers and real ales into their offer. While the boutique festivals such as Latitude and Beacons in Yorkshire made their name by catering to a range of differing and niche tastes, increasingly the big events are getting in on the act. So that now you can find an ale tent at mainstream festivals such as Reading / Leeds and T in the Park.

Incidentally, a debate is currently raging between the real ale and craft beer camps as to their respective merits, and undoubtedly there are distinctions between the two in terms of the brewing and serving process. But clearly both have developed from small-scale, independent brewers disillusioned with mainstream beers and passionate about brewing for taste rather than sales.

However, there is a crucial difference around image. It’s probably not entirely accidental that the real ale drinker has come to be thought of as a bearded, middle-aged man in an over-sized jumper.

Whereas new craft beer brewers such as Thornbridge or Brew Dog are owned and operated by young, media savvy staff who are introducing cool design to their labelling and endorsements from bands such as Reverend and the Makers. The beers are also given an edgy, dangerous image with names like Dead Pony Club and Punk IPA.

At the recent Craft Beer Rising Festival in Spitafields, East London, 40 breweries attended presenting 200 beers over the two days. DJs from Get Low, London Disco Society and the legendary Norman Jay provided the sounds.

All this has drawn in a new generation of young, hip drinkers bored with the same old mass produced tap beers found in the majority of high street pubs and bars, and who are now enjoying evenings out tasting a variety of hoppy and malty brews.

And for those music festivals that are still lagging behind in terms of their beer offer, there is always the option of advance ordering a case of your favourite brew online to take with you. The real-ale or craft beer drinking festival-goer need never go thirsty again. Want to know how many units you are drinking at an event? Check out our article.

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