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The 39th Cambridge Beer Festival

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Sunshine, good beer and friends; there is not much more you can ask from a day out, which is why I headed to the 39th Cambridge Beer Festival in umm Cambridge. And if there were rumours of a barbecue afterwards, well that’s even better.

We took the train from London to Cambridge which is only some 50 miles north of London; where we then met up with another friend and then headed on to Jesus Green Park where the festival has been held since 2001.

And then we waited.

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We arrived a bit early, so there was still 15 minutes before they opened the gates. It’s good to arrive early if you want to get a good place.

And once the gates opened, we dashed forward in mayhem of… Well actually we just slowly strolled together in an orderly queue inside the area and headed first to the pint desk to buy a pint glass. And by that I do mean buying just an empty glass

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Because that’s how beer festivals work, you have your own pint glass which you then go and fill. No pint, no service!

After that we spent considerable time choosing out first ale. Thankfully we had some friends working at the festival, so they had plenty of good recommendation, which is good as choosing from around 200 beers is not easy!

We then managed to secure us a table where we settled down to enjoy the first ale of the day. I had opted for Backlight from BlackBar brewery.

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Obviously we were only drinking half pints, so we could try out more beers.

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Then at 3 o’clock they started closing the place. During the week they have the first serving from noon to three o’clock and another one from 5pm to 10:30pm. I suppose this is done so that people don’t stay around drinking the whole day.

So after a few friendly reminders from the staff, that we do actually have to get up and leave, we did so.

Actually it worked well for us, as we then headed to the butchers to get some meat to throw into the grill; and the beer shop to continue with the ales.

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Few interesting finds from the day:

  • Felstar: Felstar 2%, dark ale, very refreshing dark ale, which wasn’t too strong, so you could drink plenty on a sunny day
  • XT: No. 9 5% plenty of hops and malts, very strong interesting taste
  • BlackBar: Märzen 6.0% nice richly flavoured, a bit sweet beer
  • Bees: Wobble 5.0%: nice chocolaty ale
  • Art Brew: Orange IPA 6.4%: Nice IPA with a citrus flavoured twist

But then again, I tasted so many beers, that it was impossible to keep track of them all. The Cambridge Beer Festival does have their own iPhone app also where you can rate the beers you try, but we were too lazy for that, after all, beer is for enjoying.


  • Held every year at the end of May and it lasts a week
  • Cambridge is only about an hour with a train from London
  • The place is packed in the evenings and especially on Saturday, the noon sessions are the best if you can make it
  • Drink only half pints so you can enjoy more different ales
  • Balance it out, don’t just drink the strongest beers
  • Remember to eat something!

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Have you been to beer festivals? Would you go?


  1. I’m a red-blooded Kiwi male and it just so happens that beer and barbecue are two of my favourite things… Haha. It looks like a wicked day out! It would be a great excuse to get out of London for a day
    Simon P recently posted..Finding Utopia in Luang PrabangMy Profile

    • Well, beer and barbecue are good, and even better together! :) And the beer festival is definitely a good excuse to get out of London for a day

  2. I miss our local booze, blews and bbqs event back home. It is actually quite huge with about 8,000 people showing up for the day. Gets pretty messy by the end unfortunately.
    Cole @ Four Jandals recently posted..Basic Arabic Words for Travel to EgyptMy Profile

    • Booze and bbq events are great, but you are right, they can get quite messy in the end! So I was happily surprised that the Cambridge Beer festival closed down for few hours to prevent this.

  3. Looks like a great festival! The venison burger sounds delicious. Might have to plan a trip to the UK for this festival next year!
    Jennifer recently posted..Opening Soon! Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & SpaMy Profile

    • The venison burger was very good! I do recommend visiting the festival, and Cambridge also as it is quite nice.

  4. You must have had such a great time there! I really like that pint glass, my husband would be so happy about it!

    • The pint glass is pretty cool :)

  5. Nothing beats a beer festival outdoors on a sunny day. I’m hoping the upcoming beer festival in Montreal will be so nice.
    Sam recently posted..English as Your First Language, Blessing or a Curse?My Profile

    • yeah, beer and sunshine, can’t beat that! Hope the weather is good for your festival!

  6. I have had the luxury of many wine events in Argentina, however, I think I am due for a beer festival. I miss good beer!
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Foto of the Week from … Buenos Aires – TackyMy Profile

    • Wine tastings are also good fun; And I would imagine they are very good in Argentina! But yeah, sometimes you just want some good beer 😉

  7. As much as I like beer, I’ve actually never been to a beer festival. I hang my head in shame.

    Did you get to keep the glass? It’s pretty awesome!
    Raymond @ Man On The Lam recently posted..The Holy Grail of Hokey: Inside The Holy Land Experience (Part Two)My Profile

    • Yeah, you can either buy the pint glass with £2.5, or you can bring your own pint if you want to. And then you can usually return the pint glass to get your money back, but I think a souvenir pint glass for £2.5 is cheap! :) And it is pretty cool

  8. Looks awesome – definitely our kind of day!
    Andrea and John recently posted..Summer Nights in NorwayMy Profile

    • Yeah, what more can you ask :)