Radar: Liverpool Beer Festivals

Why do beer festivals tend to happen in Winter? Is it, as we suspect, because these long, cold January and February weekends could do with a bit of brightening up? There’s nothing like a few ales to give you a rosy glow on your way back home after all.

The Liverpool Beer Festival in the Metropolitan Cathedral’s glorious Lutyens Crypt is one of the high points of the year – for us at least – but tickets can be hard to come by, thanks to a convoluted ticketing process, unless you’ve done a spot of forward planning.

If you can get hold of a ticket we thoroughly recommend it – there’s scarcely a finer place to sup and the range of beers is staggering (something you may be doing if you partake of the heftier drinks on offer unguardedly). Need we mention the home-made pies, range of cheeses and live music from the likes of Loose Moose too? Good.

Meanwhile, as the rise of microbreweries in Liverpool continues, so do the number of beer festivals. There are at least two more in coming months, both of which have a local bent and get our wholehearted backing.

First off is the confusingly-titled Liverpool Beer Festival at Liverpool Cricket Club, promising 40 beers, half a dozen ciders and a whiskey bar. It will feature brews from the Springhead Brewery – not a local business but one which started life as a tiny microbrewery in the wilds of Nottinghamshire.

Entry is a pittance if you’re a CAMRA or LCC member, but it’s hardly breaking the bank at three quid if you’re not. Cricket clubs are great settings for a day of boozing and you can follow in the footsteps of WG Grace and Freddie Flintoff (by visiting the club – not by getting drunk, obviously) at the Victorian clubhouse.

Finally the Waterloo Beer Festival is back for a fifth installment, sponsored by the excellent Liverpool Organic Brewery it promises over 200 real ales and ciders, including lagers and continental beers if ale’s not your thing.

There’ll be food by Peninsula Pies and the Liverpool Cheese Company for when you get peckish and live music if you need aural entertainment. Set in the lovely Old Christ Church, a stone’s throw from the marine lake and beach, this festival can, perhaps, stake a claim to being the most locally-minded beer festival of the three.

Whichever one you attend, we suspect you’ll have a whale of time. Just remember the rules of a beer festival: pace yourself; eat a pie; avoid any beer whose name sounds like a threat and leave the 6%ers ’til last. And plenty of water when you get home.

Liverpool Beer Festival (CAMRA)
Lutyens Crypt, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral
Thursday 21 – Saturday 23 February

Liverpool Beer Festival (non CAMRA)
Liverpool Cricket Club, Aigburth Road
Thursday 31 Jan Open 5pm – 11pm
Friday 1 Feb Open 5pm – 11pm
Saturday 2 Feb Open Noon – 11pm

Waterloo Beer Festival
Old Christ Church, Waterloo Road

18 April 2013
6:00pm – 10:30pm

19 April 2013
12:00pm – 4:30pm
6:00pm – 10:30pm

20 April 2013
12:00pm – 4:30pm
6:00pm – 10:30pm

21 April 2013
12:00pm – 7:00pm

  • http://www.facebook.com/chrisgreen.dnb Chris Green

    What is so ‘convoluted’ about the ticketing process for Liverpool Beer Festival? All you need to do is get your lazy arse out of bed early on a wintery Saturday morning, make your way to the Metropolitan Cathedral and queue up for a ticket on a first-come first-served basis like every other bugger. It’s hardly difficult and doesn’t get much fairer in my opinion.

  • Robin Brown

    That isn’t convoluted? You have to physically be at a certain place at a certain time or else download a form, fill it in and post it? The local CAMRA website basically acknowledges that it’s an awkward system: “Every year we receive comments and complaints regarding ticket selling”. For the Waterloo festival, by contrast, you fill in an online form.

    You’ll find few bigger fans of the festival than me, but my experience as a punter is that it’s a ballache to get tickets for.

  • http://twitter.com/ellieq ELLIE

    Convoluted for those of us who don’t live or work in Liverpool and can only make it back at certain times!

  • YorkshirePudding

    I agree it is somewhat convoluted, if you wish to apply by post, which we did the previous year to try and get my group in (4 people) you could only get two tickets, so we sent two separate applications in and fortunately we all got the same date. so only allowing two tickets by post is a bit unfair for a start. secondly not everyone can queue up at silly o’clock on a Saturday, so its not entirely convenient that way. at least Liverpool CAMRA admit its not perfect but why cant they use the eventbrite system or similar live LOB do?

    I enjoy the main beer festival but its becoming a victim of its own success, now if you ask me Waterloo beer festival is the real gem. We have not been able to get tickets to this years main festival due to haggard circumstances.

    also your link to the beer festival at the cricket club just links back to the main CAMRA organised festival, might be worth correcting that folks. nice article!

  • Loz

    If you fancy a trip a little further afield, there is an annual beer festival at Spitting Feathers brewery on a farm near Chester. It’s on 20th July this year. I went there a couple of times and it is great. Nothing like the selection of beers at the cathedral, but a decent selection of local micro-breweries’ offerings, and they have a hog roast. Last time I went, they did a tour around the micro-brewery too which was pretty cool.

    A designated driver is needed though, because there is absolutely no public transport to the farm.