Cheers! All on tap as Chippenham Beer Festival comes of age
Preparations are almost complete for one of the West’s biggest beer festivals, which gets under way in Wiltshire this evening.
The Chippenham Beer Festival comes of age and celebrates its 21st event this weekend, having started with just a few beers and a few people in the Neeld Hall in the centre of the Wiltshire town back in 1992.
Now the festival will run over two nights, beginning tonight at the Olympiad leisure centre’s main hall. There are two more sessions on Saturday afternoon and Saturday evening, and a few tickets remain.
Almost 100 beers are being supplied by large and small breweries from Cornwall to Scotland, but the majority are from smaller and micro-breweries in Bristol, Bath, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.
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The festival, which is run by the Chippenham branch of the Campaign for Real Ale, is also acting as the regional championships for Camra’s national best beer contest.
Festival chairman Gareth McDonald said it had come a long way in 20 years. “Branch members at the first festival remember there being too much beer and not enough customers,” he said. “The second year had too many customers and not enough beer. By year three we had the balance right.”
The amount of beer sold increased over the years to 800 gallons in 2010, with almost 1,900 people attending. Organisers are hoping for a sunny Saturday afternoon to enjoy the riverside venue.