Whitehaven welcomes Western Lake District Beer Festival

Preparations are well under way for the Western Lake District Beer Festival, which is to be held on the Friday and Saturday 16th-17th March.

This flagship event is being organised by the West Cumbrian branch of the Campaign for Real Ale, CAMRA, and this years promises to be the best and the biggest yet.

The festival is also hosting the judging of the Bitter category of the regional heats in the CAMRA annual ‘Champion Beer of Britain’ contest. 8 beers have been chosen by the 15,000 north west members of CAMRA. The tasting panel is to be drawn from a cross section that includes the deputy manager of Copeland and CAMRA members.

It will be a blind tasting to the panel members have no idea what beers they have selected until the judging has been completed.

There will be 38 beers on offer for people to try, including milds, bitters, golden ales, IPA and even a porter or stout. Among these will be some firm local favourites, including Jennings – Cumberland Ale, Jennings – Lakeland Stunner,Barngates – Cat Nap, Coniston – Bluebird, Coniston – Blacksmith’s Ale, Foxfield -Mild; The Strands Brewery – Irresponsibly, Ennerdale Brewery – Darkest, Cumbria Legendary Ales – Loweswater Gold, Hawkshead Bitter, Hawkshead – Windermere Pale and Yates Bitter to name a few.

 There will also be a number of guest beers from further afield including; the Wolf Brewery’s Moonlight from Norfolk and Edinburgh based Stewart Brewing’s Coconut Porter.  After the success of bottled Belgium beers last year this year we will be trying different ones.  They include Bruge Zot, produced by the Halvman Brewery, Bruge’s only remaining brewery and Nocturn from the famous Brussels brew pub Delirium. This year there will be a couple of ciders and even a perry or two to sample as well.

Katie Read, Manager of West Cumbria Tourism said: ‘’The Western Lake District has a long history of brewing dating back centuries, this has continued into the present day.  There are a significant number of independent breweries growing and flourishing in the Western Lake District, including; Workington, Cockermouth, Cleator, Wigton and Ennerdale, amongst others. I’m guessing it must be something in the water and perhaps the freshest ingredients available that make our ales some of the best in the country, something that we are all more than happy to shout about.’’

 Dates are Friday 16th and Saturday 17th March afternoons 12-5 (entrance £3.50) evenings 6-11 (entrance 4.00). Entrance is free for CAMRA members with a valid membership card.

 To find out more about the Western Lake District, its food, activities and accommodation visit www.western-lakedistrict.co.uk  to find out more about the Whitehaven Beer Festival visitwww.westcumbriacamra.org.uk