Unpretentious Rural Beer Festivals Worth The Journey [BUFF]

Ditch the city streets for a rural beer-fuelled getaway.

Urban beer events are reaching peak popularity, but have you thought about visiting the countryside for your next beer festival?

Beer festivals are more popular than they’ve ever been, with hundreds of events organised throughout the UK promoting beer in all its glorious forms. Unfortunately, like all good things, beer festivals have become a victim of the hipster generation with bearded fashionistas and Instagrammers alike with over optimised SEO blog are now eager to get in on the action.

If you’re looking to avoid the millennial crowds and find a simple place to drink some beer then you might want to avoid any newly founded festivals based in a city centre and opt for a festival in the countryside. Out in God’s own country you’ll find that there’s zero tolerance for pretentiousness, in fact we’re firm in the belief that the further you distance yourself from the yuppies the better your experience will be!

Load up the car, book a holiday home and escape to the country for one of these rural beer festivals!

Octoberfest in Clitheroe


You read that right. Clitheroe is a small town nestled right on the edge of the Forest of Bowland and once a year it’s home to a traditional Octoberfest complete with Bavarian beer, food and live music. The beer hall at Holmes Mill is the perfect venue for a day of traditional drinking and revelry, once you’ve had your fill you can either stay at the hotel there or take a cab back to a static caravan at Bowland Fell, a nearby holiday park.

Where? Holmes Mill, Clitheroe When? 14th September & 5th October 2018

11th North Cotswold Beer Festival


Now in its 11th year, the North Cotswold Beer Festival gives beer lovers the perfect excuse to spend a weekend in this idyllic corner of the country. For just £3 visitors can gain entry to this fun little festival, beers are bought on a token system and you even have the option of buying a souvenir glass for £2 or £3. Camping is available on site for those looking to stumble into bed straight after the event and there’ll be 50 real ales and 20 different ciders/perry to take your pick from.

Where? Moreton-in-Marsh Cricket Club When? 7th-8th September 2018

Somerset Real Ale & Cider Festival


Some argue that the birthplace of good real cider is in Somerset, but as we’re beer drinkers we can’t really pass judgement on this! What we do now, however, is that the Somerset Real Ale & Cider Festival is one of the best attended events of its kind in the area and promises a real treat for drinkers looking to suss out what makes this region so prolific. Although Minehead might be a bit of a trek this festival is certainly worth the trip and is elevated by its sense of community spirit.

Where? Minehead Rugby Club, Minehead When? 7th-8th September 2018

Carmarthen Beer Festival


Wales is home to an abundance of excellent brewers many of whom will be proudly sharing their wares at the Carmarthen Beer Festival. Entry is free to card-carrying members of CAMRA, whilst non-members will have to pay £6, which includes a glass and programme. 40 Real Ales/Ciders/Country Wines/Perries will be available in addition to live music on the Friday and Saturday evening sessions. Filled rolls will be on offer for purchase or visitors are welcome to bring their own food.

Where? St. Peters Civic Hall, Carmarthen When? 4th-6th October 2018

Liverpool: Gin Distilleries, Breweries & Bars

Liverpool is a city full of wonderful boozers…

Take a trip to this iconic Northern city and drop into one of the city’s countless historical traditional pubs.

Liverpool is a city that is famous for a number of reasons. Despite not commanding the same investment and population of larger British cities, such as London or Manchester, Liverpool’s small stature has helped it maintain a distinct neighbourhood vibe that has seen popular community bars and pubs thrive for hundreds of years. Whilst the culture of the city will forever be dominated by the Beatles and the two Premier League football teams that reside in the suburbs, Liverpool is fast developing a cache of locally brewed (and distilled) alcoholic beverages that are readily on tap throughout these popular pubs and bars.

Stop in for a pint or two in one of these lovely boozers:

The Philharmonic Dining Rooms

The Philharmonic comes at the top of the list thanks to its Grade II listed Gents’ toilets, but it also scores top points for its excellent selection of well-kept ales and beers. Built on the turn of the 20th century, the pub is full of eye-catching features and serves a variety of delicious pub classics in its classy dining room on the first floor. Individual wood-panelled rooms offer a bit of quiet and seclusion, whilst the large drawing room is usually bubbling with lively conversation.

Liverpool Gin Distillery

Castle Street isn’t always on every visitor’s list of places to go in Liverpool, but the Liverpool Gin Distillery is set to change that. Joining the ranks of classy, hip restaurants is this one-of-a-kind distillery tour experience which takes guests inside the machinations of one of the city’s classiest booze-making buildings. You can try your hand at blending your own gin, or skip the tour and settle down for a pint in the relaxed basement bar.

Handyman Supermarket

Tourists to the city will miss a trick by not visiting Smithdown Road, with its plethora of affordable restaurants and traditional community pubs which include the recently opened Handyman Supermarket. This brewery/pub always has a few brews of its own tap including a curated selection of ales mostly from other northern breweries. The warehouse style building was once the home of a well-established hardware shop and the owners honoured its legacy by keeping the name.

The Ship & Mitre


There are a dizzying selection of beers on offer at the Ship & Mitre including British ales, Continental brews and plenty of American beers. There’s rarely a time when this popular pub isn’t crammed with locals which always makes for a fun drinking environment, but this doesn’t mean that you’ll struggle finding a seat. The building is deceptively vast and offers plenty of seating alongside its curious naval interior design.

Ye Cracke

Popular with university lecturers and builders alike, Ye Cracke is one of the most storied pubs in Liverpool, boasting over 200 years of history and plenty of local heritage to boot. The building includes several curious rooms to drink in, including the War Room, the oldest part of the pub which makes for a cosy hangout if you can get in there. During the summer locals make the most of the pub garden (one of a few decent spots in the city) and the pints are as cheap as they come.

Beer Festivals From Around The World

Drink up! Drink up!

These international beer festivals have built a reputation for their variety, cultural heritage and sheer volume.

Beer is consumed all over the world and whilst we Brits take particular pride in our humble celebrations (or not so humble if you’re heading to The Great British Beer Festival), for each beer-drinking country there is an ultimate beer festival that promises endless schooners/steins/litres of beer with an army of attendees who are all as passionate as any beer-swiller from Blighty.

Wilfully ignore any alcohol consumption guidelines and run riot at one of these legendary beer festivals:

Oktoberfest

Arguably the be all and end all of beer festivals, Oktoberfest is the largest beer festival of its kind in the world. Over the course of 18 days millions of people travel to Munich, Germany to consume litres upon litre of Oktoberfest Beer. This medium bodied lager is a Bavarian classic that is undeniably malty with a very clean finish. Colours of this lager vary from a light amber to a dark brow and is dangerously drinkable. Oktoberfest is a celebration of Bavarian culture, it’s a folk festival but it’s also a fairground and definitely one for your bucket-list.

Where? Munich, Germany When? September 22nd 2018

BeerFes Tokyo

Although this event is more of a convention than a true festival, it has nonetheless built up a solid reputation as one of the best beer festivals that the world has to offer. Tokyo is an exciting, vibrant city with an enthralling food scene, this event is a perfect opportunity for you to become better acquainted with the radical beers that are being produced out here. Only a handful of lager brands make it out of Japan despite the fact that there’s a huge beer industry here, so to discover it you’ll need to go to them!

Where? Tokyo, Japan When? TBA June 2019

Great American Beer Festival

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years you’ll no doubt be aware that American Beer has made somewhat of a breakthrough in the tastes of British beer drinkers. Whilst them yanks have yet to brew an ale to rival the best that we have to offer, they are more than capable of cobbling together a decent enough hoppy pale ale and Colorado is arguably at the centre of this micro-brewing revolution. The Great American Beer Festival hosts 96 separate category competitions in addition to offering presentations, tastings and even a silent disco.

Where? Denver, Colorado When? September 20-22 2018

Bruges Beer Festival

Whilst many British drinkers might still see Belgian beer as an acquired taste, Belgians (unsurprisingly) will have their beer no other way. The Belgian style is as broad and varied as the ales we have on offer here, with beverages ranging from session style ales of a piddling few percent to full blown barleywine bangers of up to 16% ABV. The exhibition hall is one of the largest in Belgium and the city is an architectural treat – just make sure you wrap up warm though, as this festival takes place in the depths of winter.

Where? Bruges, Belgium When? 31st January – 5th February 2019

Pilsner Fest

Real Ale drinkers might well put their nose up at the European Pilsner but that hasn’t stopped it becoming one of the go to styles of choice for beer drinkers all across the world. Amstel, Grolsch, Budweiser and Beck’s have conquered the lager market for decades so it can be easy to overlook the fantastic variety of craft pilsners that are produced in its homeland of Plzen. The festival takes place on the first Saturday of October each year and is well attended thank to its proximity to Munich and Prague.

Where? Plzen, Czech Slovakia When? 6th October 2018