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

Pub of the Year: Rural Bolt-Holes

Is the Pub of the Year in this category?

We’ve been on the hunt for the Pub of the Year and have been getting help from drinkers all over the country!

Over the last few months we’ve been inundated with messages from loyal pub drinkers from the UK touting their favourite drinking holes. British drinkers understand better than anyone else the importance of a good pub, and they also know how varied they can be which is why we’ve chosen to split our competition up into a wide range of categories in order to give every style and location a pub the chance to be included. We’ve already covered the city-based pubs that have impressed us over the last year, so now we’re going to switch our focus over to the pubs that are a little harder to reach.

A proper rural pub is a hard thing to find. Not only are these pubs under the most threat from closure, but they’re all too often isolated from the rest of the industry which leads to them flagging behind their urban compatriots. Thankfully, our readers have been in touch and tipped us off regarding their favourite country haunts.

We’ve been blown away by the standards at these establishments and are happy too present our short list for Rural Bolt-Holes:

The Thomas Lord in Hampshire

Many village pubs have closed over the last few years, The Thomas Lord was one such establishment, dutifully restored by its owners, the Upham Group. The pub is a stunning example of rural-public house design and is staffed with attentive waiters throughout. The food presents a clever twist on pub classics and although the prices are a little higher than we’re used to paying, we thought it was well worth the price. Andy, the local who brought The Thomas to our attention, had this to say:

“For years this place was empty, so I’m so happy to see that it’s open again and under such efficient management. I was a little concerned when I discovered that it had been bought by a group, but those worries were laid to rest within a matter of weeks of it opening. The staff are lovely here and the food is the best in the area.”

The Rising Sun in Cheshire

The Cheshire countryside is the stunning backdrop to The Rising Sun, a traditional country pub whose food output marks it as a real cut above the rest. The cleverly devised menu at The Rising Sun is full of appealing crowd-pleasers, such as Popcorn Chicken and Crispy Duck, whilst a generously priced 3 Course Lunch features an adventurous Chorizo & Black Pudding Croquette and Chicken Tagine. Martin tipped us off about his favourite local and explains why here:

“For years I’ve been searching for the perfect place to incorporate into my weekly Sunday dog walk, so I was over the moon when I discovered The Rising Sun. I’m a regular here now and plan on occupying a cosy armchair every Sunday for the foreseeable future!”

The Fox & Duck in Hertfordshire

Nestled in the centre of idyllic Therfield, The Fox and Duck is a pub that ticks all the boxes when it comes to rural comforts. Set in front of an attractive green, which is a hub of activity during the busy Summer months, we found this pub to be just as busy on a colder Autumn evening. Hungry diners can pick from two menus: an informal bar menu packed with classic pub grub dishes and an a la carte menu for something a little bit more special. Diana is a frequent diner and told us more about why she loves it so much:

“I simply adore this pub, it has everything that you could desire of a country escape: delicious warming food, a delicious wine menu and plenty of tasty desserts to keep the kids happy. I think I’ll be coming here for the rest of my life!”