Beer cheer the real deal as Robin Hood festival rolls out a barrel of fun
IT'S got food, band, a picturesque location – and oh yeah, more than 1,200 ales, ciders and perries.
And from today, the Robin Hood Beer Festival is back for another year.
The festival opens tonight and runs until Saturday in the grounds of Nottingham Castle.
The organisers, the Nottingham branch of the Campaign for Real Ale, decided to open tonight's preview event to the public for a quieter midweek start to an event that, by the end, will have brought to the castle thousands of real ale fans from around Britain and the world.
Meanwhile, a festival fringe fortnight featuring food and drink offers at 10 pubs around the city centre runs until October 21.
As usual, the festival is proving popular before a single half-pint is poured.
Advance tickets are already sold out for Friday and Saturday.
Admission will still be offered on the door, space permitting. Door admission will only be good for that time – no tickets for later entry and no pass-outs.
Festival organisers believe that with many people coming during the day on Friday and Saturday and leaving before the evening, there will be room for more admissions.
But to be surer of entrance without an advance ticket, they recommend arriving before evening peak times.
This year they're also offering a special discounted ticket for Saturday after 7pm. By Saturday night there are always quite a few emptied casks on the stands; in past years, people have thought that meant the festival was running out of beer.
"What they don't realise is that there's probably as much beer as most festivals start out with," Nottingham Camra chairman Steve Westby said, adding that they always hold some back until later in the festival.
The festival will also feature music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, as well as a wide selection of foods, including some vegetarian options.
A handful of vegetarian and vegan-friendly ales will also be on offer.
An expanded selection of cider will also be available – more than 200, including more than 30 from the East Midlands.
"We're moving things forward on the cider front," Mr Westby said.
As in previous years, tickets will be sold as a package that includes a commemorative half-pint glass and 14 beer tokens.
A half of most beers at the festival will cost three tokens, while a third will cost two.
Drinkers who bring their own government-stamped tankards can have five extra tokens in lieu of the festival glass.)
Admission on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday is £15; on Thursday it's £12.50.
On Saturday night, they're also offering a discounted £10 ticket, which gets you admission, the glass and ten tokens.
The festival is open tonight from 6pm to 11pm, and Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11am to 11pm.
For more information, visit beerfestival.nottinghamcamra.org.