15th March 2012
Small CAMRA branch aims to stage a big beer festival
One of the smaller branches of CAMRA is staging its inaugural Real Ale Festival next month and is promising a unique experience for visitors coming to the Isle of Man from the UK.
The Isle of Man Branch, with just over 200 members, is hosting the event from April 12th to 14th at The Masonic Hall, Woodbourne Road in Douglas, when over 60 real ales will be on offer as well as ciders, perries and fruit wines.
The theme of the Festival is ‘Beers from the Seven Kingdoms’ – the Kingdoms in question being England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man – which can all be seen from the top of the Island’s only mountain, Snaefell, plus the kingdoms of Neptune and Heaven.
Alan Cooper, one of the Isle of Man Branch’s organising committee agreed it had been a challenge to find beers to be representative of the kingdoms of Neptune and Heaven. However, this had been achieved with the aid of varieties such as Stairway of Heaven, Fallen Angel and Apollo. The Titanic Brewery from the Midlands is contributing Iceberg and 1912.
Alan Cooper said:
"We are hoping our festival will be unique as we are providing more than sixty real ales from many different countries. Most festivals concentrate on beers from their own particular area with maybe a few brought in from outside, but we are being far more ambitious. In addition, two local beers are being produced which will make their debut during the weekend."
The Island’s own Bushy’s Brewery will be launching a new ale to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Isle of Man TT Marshals Association. Lieutenant Governor Adam Wood is to pull the first pint of what is described as a 4% Golden Ale. Also premiering at the Festival is a special best bitter from Isle of Man’s Okells brewery, but its exact description is being kept a secret at this stage.
There are a group of ultra enthusiast members of CAMRA known as the ‘Tickers’ whose mission is to drink every beer brewed in the British Isles. With news of the two new beers spreading through the CAMRA ranks, it is anticipated that these will attract members to sample them at the Island’s event.
Alan Cooper added:
"We hope to welcome between 1,000 and 1,200 people to the Festival during the three days, with around 10% from the UK. There has already been a lot of interest from CAMRA members in the North West. We have tried to cater for all tastes with six different styles of beer and with the gravities spread from 3.5% to 10%. This is not just a one-off and the intention is that the Festival will become an annual event."
The project is being supported by the Isle of Man Department of Economic Development. Political member with responsibility for Tourism, Geoff Corkish MBE MHK, said the organisers had worked hard to ensure the Festival’s success and he was certain it would go down well with locals and visitors alike.
Mr Corkish commented:
"Yet another boost to our visitor economy is the CAMRA Festival to be held here this year. This follows their highly successful annual conference held on the Island in 2010, when local pubs played host to over 700 members and saw a brisk trade in real ale. We can look forward to welcoming many new friends and I hope they will enjoy experiencing our unique heritage attractions and wonderful landscape."
"I would also like to express my thanks to Alan Cooper and the members of the local branch of CAMRA, who have worked tirelessly to ensure that the first Festival will be a great success."
Further information can be obtained from the Festival website on www.iombeerfestival.com.