We’re only here for the 500 beers! All you need to know about York Beer Festival 2018

Full and fizzing: the marquee at York Beer Festival. Photograph: Paul Shields
19 Sep 2018 @ 2.49 pm
| Food & drink

Excitement is bubbling over as the 10th anniversary Knavesmire Beer Festival is here.

York Beer And Cider Festival
  • Wed Sep 19-Sat Sep 22 2018
  • Knavesmire
  • £1.50-£5.50
  • More details

Beer enthusiasts from all over the UK and beyond will travel to Knavesmire for the event – organisers have had enquiries from visitors coming from as far as Denmark, Canada and South Africa this year.

And if any further proof was needed that York Beer Festival is a must-visit, TripAdvisor site Holiday Lettings (seven million monthly readers) chose it as one of the top 10 events in the UK in September.

Amazing ten years

Kegcitement… Europe’s longest bar
Few would have predicted that when York CAMRA momentously decided by a single vote at a packed branch meeting in 2007 to move to a modest marquee on the Knavesmire in 2008 that it would have grown to be Yorkshire biggest beer festival over four days, with Europe’s longest bar!

Due to the great success of the new location, the festival is again sited in the Clocktower Enclosure opposite the York Racecourse winning post.

This has been at the centre of a £5 million improvement scheme which includes two new large modern toilet blocks. The enclosure accommodates the huge marquee and vast beer garden plus a wide selection of street food outlets.

The York Pullman 198 bus service which proved so popular last year will run again daily throughout the festival to and from York Station from 11.30am until 11.30pm.

A lot to drink

Wooden barrels from Maine
There will be the great diverse range of British real ales that we’ve come to expect from the festival – nearly 500 in all, with again a strong focus on Yorkshire ales that come from over 200 outstanding breweries in the county – the most of any county in the UK.

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The top 10 real ale pubs in York

There will be a diverse array of over 118 ciders and perries on offer as well good selection of world wines, British meads and chilled Prosecco.

The popular keg wall will return – serving 30 of the best keykeg craft beers from around the UK as well as an eclectic array of foreign beers from around the world including 2 exclusively imported from Sardinia just for the festival.

In another exclusive, for the first time the festival will have eight wooden barrels direct from breweries located in Maine, USA as part of a larger exchange programme facilitated through the DTI and Brass Castle Brewery.

This will result in the barrels being refilled with fine Yorkshire beer and sent back to the lucky drinkers at Maine Brewers’ Guild International Beer Festival in November.

Music and tickets

Great music and beer have been inextricably linked for as long as people have been imbibing.

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York’s seven best craft beer bars

To make things go with a swing there will be a comprehensive line-up of artistes on the live music stage at most sessions, featuring a roster of local talent performing a wide range of different musical genres.

You can either turn up and pay on the door or beat the queues and take advantage of an advance ticketing service.

Tickets, which include a souvenir glass deposit, get you quick entry to the festival via the cashless FastTrack queue and include a free programme with tasting notes.

Tickets are available here.

York Beer Festival Q&A

Where is the festival?
In a giant marquee on York’s famous Knavesmire just off Knavesmire Rd, York, YO23 1EX.  We’re opposite York Racecourse winning post in the Clocktower Enclosure. Entry will be at the top of Knavesmire Rd by the owners and trainers entrance and will be signposted.


What are the opening hours?

5pm -11pm on Wednesday 20th and midday -11pm on Thursday 21st to Saturday 23rd.


Can I buy advance tickets?
Yes you can – just go to our website www.yorkbeerfestival.org.uk and click on the “Book Now” tab to go to our Eventbrite ticketing service. Advance ticket holders can use paper or e-tickets displayed on a smartphone to get in and will be in a fast-track queue.


How do I get to the festival?
A special festival bus service number 198, in association with York Pullman, will operate on all 4 days of the festival.  This will start from York Railway Station at 11.30am departing every hour until 9.30pm.  The bus will leave the Race Course for York Station at 12noon and then every hour until 9.30pm, then every 20 minutes until 11.30pm

The fares to be paid by the passengers direct to the driver are £2.00 – Single. £3.00 – Return


Let’s get down to business, what is there to drink?
There will be over 450 real ales; over 100 real ciders; a KeyKeg bar with 30 British craft beers and a Foreign Beer bar selling a selection of 20 draught foreign beers (draught and bottled beers including lagers). There will also be a selection of wines, meads, prosecco and soft drinks.


What are the admission charges?
Wednesday 20th – Public £3.50, CAMRA members £1.50;
Thursday 21st – Public £4.50, CAMRA members £2.50;
Friday 22nd/Saturday 23rd- Public £5.50, CAMRA members £3.50
Season Ticket for all days – bought in advance – Public £12, CAMRA members £8

Why do I have to pay to get in?
The cost of putting on a festival of this scale is very significant and admission charges go towards covering just some of the outlay on things such as marquee hire, fencing, generators, toilet facilities, bar equipment & scaffolding.


Do I have to buy a glass?
You will need to buy a souvenir polycarbonate festival pint or half pint “glass” for £2.50 when you arrive (licencing conditions do not allow real glass) which can be refunded should you choose, when you leave the festival.


Are there beer tokens or is it a cash bar?
There will be no beer tokens – you pay cash for your beverage, as you would in a pub.


How much is a pint?
Visitors in previous years will know that we keep prices as reasonable as possible. Beers will be priced individually to reflect their strength (ABV).


Do you sell drinks in thirds of a pint?
Yes, glasses are marked for third and half pint measures as well.


Will there be a programme available?
Yes, with comprehensive tasting notes. It’s free with advance tickets and just 50p for those paying on the door.


Will all the beers in the programme be available at all times?
We will endeavour to have the greatest range of beers on at all times but reserve the right to keep beers from sale due to them not being ready for drinking. The range will of course diminish as beers sell out.


Do you sell lager?
Do not expect the mass produced brands that you would see in your local! Although this is primarily a real ale festival there will be a selection of premium world lagers available at the Foreign Beer Bar.


Can I bring my own beer?
No – soft drinks only in plastic bottles.


Can I bring children?
Yes, we welcome families – under 18’s will be happily admitted with a responsible adult but will be required to leave by 8pm.


Will I be able to buy food at the festival?
Yes, there will be a wide variety of different hot and cold foods encompassing cuisines from around the world including vegetarian options.


Is there a smoking area?
There is a very large beer garden that accommodates smokers.


Will there be parking available?
There is plenty of parking for bikes. There will be limited on-street parking for cars adjacent to the festival on Knavesmire Road, but of course we do not recommend driving to the festival unless you are a non-drinker.


What about dogs?
Dogs that are kept under control and on a lead at all times are allowed.


Is there live entertainment?
There is a varied programme of live music covering most sessions – exact details of the music acts and various sessions are still being finalised and will appear nearer to the festival.


What if it rains?
There is plenty of standing room in the marquee as well as plenty of seating.


Will I have to queue to get in?
Not for long and if you buy advance tickets you get FastTrack entry. Last year the peak was 15 minutes on Friday night. If we reach our safety limit then we may have to go to “one out one in”.


Are you on Twitter and Facebook?

Yes, @beerfestyork and www.facebook.com/yorkbeerfestival