Cheers… ‘hop’ to these festivals for a summer beer bonanza

Real ale fans and beer buddies are set for a cheery time over the summer, including sampling local brews amongst the pews in a Minster, and visiting probably the world’s longest beer festival (all 5.5 miles of it).

There’s also the chance to enjoy a pint or two in a city dubbed the world’s best place to drink real ale, and a weekend beer festival whose name was inspired by artist David Hockney’s love of a local landscape.

For a heavenly treat, Hull Minster will once again play host to a major beer festival, when local breweries join with musical talent and food vendors to showcase Hull’s thriving beer and music scenes.

The Hull Minster Beer Festival will go ahead 13 – 14 Aug after the annual real ale and cider fixture at the venue was called off because of coronavirus.

Featuring local brewing favourites Atom Beers, Bone Machine and Great Newsome, among others, there will also be entertainment from a host of local bands and artists, and food provided by vendors from the neighbouring historic Trinity Market.

Organisers Vittles & Company, a micro-brewery, bar and bottle shop based in Trinity Market, aims to make the Festival a celebration of all the great local beer, food and music that people have missed out on during the past year ().

Hull Minster is at the heart of the historic Old Town and has been a part of the city’s footprint since the late 13th century, and renowned for its carved oak pews, stone pillars and ornate roof. It stands in Trinity Square, a sandstone paved public space with water features that form reflective pools.

For real ale fans, there can be only one place to be this summer. Travel gurus at Lonely Planet described Derby as the “best place to drink real ale in the world”, and following on from last year’s successful Beer Sessions, held within the new-look Derby Market Place, the Derby Beer Festival returns 4-8 August.

Taking place in the covered ‘Derby Loves You’ venue within Derby Market Place, with outside tables for alfresco drinking, the Festival will offer a selection of the best real ales from microbreweries in the local area – including some new flavours.

There will also be cider, gin, wine and prosecco, as well as live music, and the option to upgrade to a chalet for up to six people ().

Across in Staffordshire, there’s the chance to let the train take the strain for what could well be the world’s longest beer festival. The Churnet Valley Railway’s Rail Ale Trail is one of Staffordshire’s most popular events and sees the heritage line laying on a 5.5-mile festival dedicated to beer, music, and food.

Planned for 28-30 August 2021, the event offers passengers a chance to enjoy a beer as they travel along the picturesque Churnet Valley hauled by a heritage locomotive, sampling tipples from across the country – all from the comfort of a 1950s carriage. ().

For tipples with a view, East Yorkshire welcomes back Wold Top Brewery’s annual Big Sky Beer Festival, a weekend of selected ales, food, live music and camping on the Yorkshire Wolds (27th – 28th August 2021).

Not only is the Festival an opportunity to taste a range of Wold Top’s award-winning beers, but also to try out 18 guest beers on draught in a celebration of real ale in a picturesque setting ().

Wold Top was founded in 2003 by farmers Tom and Gill, who were looking at different ways to sustain the family farm with diversification and hit on brewing as their solution.

And the Festival’s name? It’s taken from a phrase used by artist David Hockney, who was based in East Yorkshire for many years and painted Yorkshire Wolds scenes, who compared the sky over the Yorkshire Wolds to ‘the big sky’ he experienced in the American West. It also reflects the unparalleled views from the brewery’s top of the Wolds location.

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    Wold top Big Sky Beer Festival, East Yorkshire

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    Derby Beer Festival. Photo: Avit Media

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    Hull Minster. Photo: Mike Bartlett

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    Churnet Valley Railway’s Rail Ale Trail