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Title: Solihull CAMRA
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Solihull Beer Festival

2014 Festival Coming Soon!

The 16th annual Solihull Beer Festival will soon be upon us; it takes place on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th October at the Solihull Royal British Legion.

We're making some changes, as we continually look to improve the festival. Firstly, we'll be open longer – we will now open at noon on both days, and continue serving until 11 pm. Second, we're rearranging the bars; the L-shape used until now caused congestion, so there will be two bars on opposite sides of the hall. This will also allow us to open the dividing partition between the hall and the main Legion bar, which will provide more room.

And then there's the free beer! Come along on Saturday afternoon before 3 pm, and you'll receive vouchers for two half-pints, absolutely free. Get there by 1 pm, and you will see the Home Brew competition in full swing.

Once again the festival is sponsored by the Whitworth Brewing Company, and we will have five different beers from them. In addition, the bars are sponsored by the Silhill Brewery; we'll be marking their return to the borough by stocking all three of their regular ales. Finally The Shed brewery is sponsoring the Home Brew competition – very apt since The Shed's head brewer, Perry Clarke, won our competition before taking it up as a business.

Good news: we've frozen all our prices. The admission charge of £10 includes your entry fee, festival glass and programme and £5.50 of beer tokens. CAMRA members also pay £10 but will receive an extra £1 of beer tokens. Top-up tokens are available in the main hall; unused tokens can be refunded or donated to this year's charity, the Royal British Legion.

If you don't want to keep your festival glass you can return it for a £2.50 refund. Even better: attend on Friday, come back on Saturday with your Friday entry slip and we will only charge £6 admission, including glass and £3.50 of beer tokens.

We are sticking with the tried and trusted formula for Saturday entertainment; the Warwick University Brass Ensemble will play an eclectic selection of tunes from 5pm, with the Strumtroopers taking to the stage at about 9 pm. The group will be making their fourth appearance at the festival, and will be playing their ever-popular variety of rock and pop classics on instruments as diverse as guitar, ukulele, bongos and plastic trombone.

Hot food will be available until at least 9 pm each night, with sandwiches and rolls available from the Legion bar.

Finally, many thanks to those without whom there would be no festival – the Festival committee, our hard-working volunteer staff, our beer suppliers, advertisers, Whitworth Brewing Company, Silhill and The Shed breweries, the Solihull British Legion for hosting us, and Church End brewery for providing the stillages and cooling equipment.

Session times:

Session day Times Special attractions
Friday 3rd October 12:00 noon - 11:00 pm Official opening
Saturday 4th October 12:00 noon - 11:00 pm Home Brew Competition
Live music from Warwick University Brass Band
Evening: Live music from The Strumtroopers ukelele band

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2013 Festival

The 15th Solihull Beer Festival took place on 4th and 5th October 2013 at the Solihull Royal British Legion.

The 15th Solihull & District CAMRA Beer Festival is over now, and we're aiming to make it an even bigger success than last year. You drank us dry in 2012 and we've got the message: we're aiming to have more than 40 real ales and 5 ciders available.

For the second year, the Whitworth Brewing Company has kindly sponsored the festival. After their beers were among the first to sell out last October, we are intending to have all five of their beers – Sobriety, Sobriety Blonde, Sobriety MPH, Crooked Elbow and Doolally Tap – on offer. Our plan is to have three available on Friday, with the other two added on Saturday.

As usual we will be using a beer token system; the admission charge of £10 includes your entry fee, festival glass and programme, and £5.50 of beer tokens. CAMRA members also pay £10, but receive an extra £1 of beer tokens. Top-up tokens are available in the main hall; unused tokens can be refunded or donated to this year’s charity, Solihull SUSTAiN.

If you don’t want to keep your festival glass, you can return it for a £2.50 refund. Even better: attend on Friday, come back on Saturday with your Friday entry slip and we will only charge £6 for entry, including glass and £3.50 beer tokens.

The entertainment for Saturday is still being finalised but we are delighted to announce that The Strumtroopers will take to the stage on Saturday evening for the third year in succession. The group has been a huge hit with festival-goers, and they play a variety of rock and pop classics on a variety of instruments including guitar, bongos, ukuleles and plastic trombone.

Hot food will be available until 9 pm each day with sandwiches and rolls available after that.

Finally, many thanks to those without whom there would be no festival – the Festival Committee, our hard-working volunteer staff, our beer suppliers, advertisers, the Whitworth Brewing Company, the Solihull Royal British Legion for hosting us, and the Church End Brewery for providing the stillages and cooling equipment. A plethora of real ales, good company, great entertainment – what more could you ask for? We look forward to seeing you there – don't forget to bring your friends along too for a great experience.

Session times:

Session day Times Special attractions
Friday 4th October 5:30 pm - 11:00 pm Official opening with Tom Lackey
Saturday 5th October 12:00 noon - 11:00 pm Afternoon: Meet the brewer: Whitworth,
Live music from Warwick University Brass Band
Evening: Live music from The Strumtroopers ukelele band

Note: the previously advertised home brew competition has been cancelled

See the provisional Beer List

2012 Festival

The 14th Solihull Beer Festival was held on 5-6 October 2012 at the Solihull Royal British Legion.

In addition to our superb range of over 35 interesting and unusual ales (which you can drink from a full colour commemorative glass) there will be fantastic entertainment, with live music on Saturday afternoon and evening, featuring the return of the popular Warwick University Wind and Brass Band, and the comedy ukelele band The Strumtroopers.

Once again we will be holding our annual homebrew competition on Saturday afternoon - for more details, and particularly if you would like to enter, please download a flyer (in pdf format). You will also be able to vote for your Beer of the Festival. The winning beer will be announced at the end of Saturday evening.

There will be a display of malt and hops, allowing you to touch and smell the natural ingredients which go into Real Ale. Hot and cold food will be available at all sessions.

We are using a token system again this year to minimise queueing on the door and at the bar. You pay a fixed £10 on the door for your entry card, which is made up of:

  • Your admission (with a £1 discount for card-carrying CAMRA members),
  • £2.50 deposit on your commemorative glass (when you leave you can reclaim your deposit or keep the glass),
  • The rest in refundable beer tokens (any unspent tokens can be cashed in or donated to our chosen charity).
Top up token cards are also available for £5 each.

See the Beer List

2011 Festival: "Urbs versus Rure"

Our 13th beer festival opened and closed with unseasonably warm weather this year. Although over 600 visitors came over the weekend, at times the beer hall was unusually deserted as people flocked to sit outside supping their choice of 40 well-chosen real ales.

This year's theme played on the motto on Solihull's coat of arms (which also gave us our gryphon mascot) - Urbs in Rure is Latin for Town in the Country, and we staged a light-hearted contest between Urban and Rural ales.

There were 7 entries for our Homebrew Competition this year, and first prize was won by Stuart Robinson with his Best Bitter, Commodore Ale.

The Warwick Uni Band did us proud over Saturday teatime with a selection of town-and-country-themed melodies, while The Strumtroopers played to great applause later on with their innovative ukulele take on a variety of hits past and present. Look out for these quirky chaps at future beer festivals across the Midlands!

Visitors also raised the welcome sum of £211 over the weekend for the charity Midlands Air Ambulance, through donations of cash and unused beer tokens. The Beer of the Festival vote was resoundingly won by the Brown Cow Brewery with their Captain Oates Dark Aromatic Oat Mild Ale.

Thanks to our host the Solihull Royal British Legion, all our visitors and to those who helped in any way.

See the Beer List

2010 Festival: Oktoberfest!

This year's festival went with a bang and an oompah as we are marked the 200th anniversary of the world's longest running beer festival: the Oktoberfest, which first took place in Munich in 1810.

Over 600 people visited our version at the Royal British Legion in Solihull town centre, which was opened by Solihull Mayor Cllr Ian Courts, with local wingwalker Tom Lackey also in attendance. Our themed entertainment proved especially popular, as the Warwick University Wind and Brass Oompah Band serenaded drinkers on Saturday evening with a medley of Bavarian tunes.

Naturally, the main event was the 40 fine ales, which included some real lagers and wheat beers plus the 2010 CAMRA Champion Beer of Great Britain, Castle Rock Harvest Pale, which understandably sold out in only two hours. Featured was a new beer, Four Per Cent, by the new local Silhill Brewery, and owner Mark Gregory was on hand at the opening to watch festival-goers' reactions as they tasted it for the first time. Beer of the festival, as voted by the festival-goers, was the unusual, peach-flavoured Cleopatra, 5%, from Derventio of Trusley, Derbyshire.

New for this year's festival, we staged a homebrew competition, with Perry Clarke as the well-deserving winner.

See the Beer List

2009 Festival: More Beers Than Ever Before!

After challenges keeping up with demand over the last two years, this year's festival featured a record 40 real ales over the weekend, and was able to offer a choice of over 20 different beers right up to last orders on Saturday night. "It's not been easy adjusting to the increasing popularity of the event in the last couple of years," said festival organiser Julia Hammonds, "but we've found a way to rack more beers than ever before. Now we can carry a fantastic range right to the end of the festival. Feedback throughout the weekend has been terrific"

Over the weekend, the festival - which was opened by Malcolm Stent and featured live music from Emma Kotka Band - raised over £142 for Jeans for Genes by visitors' kind donations.

Beer of the festival, as voted by the festival-goers, was Thornbridge Wild Swan. Tying for second place were Weatheroak Hill's Icknield Pale Ale, Thornbridge Jaipur and Bumblehole from Olde Swan in Netherton.

See the Beer List

2008 Festival Breaks New Records

Our tenth annual festival proved to be our most successful to date at the British Legion, Solihull. Having run out of beer by 8:30pm on the Saturday last year we upped the order this year but still ran out by 9pm! This was due to attendance being up by over 20% compared to last year. Indeed, Saturday lunchtime attendance was up by 100%!

First beer to run out was O'Hanlons Yellow Hammer followed by the Champion Beer of Britain 2008 Triple fff Alton's Pride, whilst Beer of the festival was Bob's Chardonnayle followed by Pictish Liberty and Thornbridge Jaipur. Eleven new members were signed up and we raised £183 for Diabetes UK from returned beer tokens. Festival Organiser Steve Dyson said, "The bar staff worked really hard over the weekend to serve people as quickly as possible and they all give their time for free".

See the Beer List

2007 Festival Exceeds Expectations

Marking Solihull CAMRA's 25th anniversary, the 9th Solihull Beer Festival, which took place on 5-6 October 2007, was a record breaker. Terrific support from the local press ensured the largest attendance yet at Solihull Royal British Legion, so much so that the 30 festival ales ran out two hours before closing time on the Saturday.

Astonished organisers have already said that more beer will be lined up for the next festival. Fortunately the Legion's own bar also serves a selection of real ales, and drinkers were able to enjoy the event to the very end.

The atmosphere was fantastic throughout. Irish folk group Cairde were especially popular, and there were even outbreaks of dancing (great fun but, given the mellow state of many of the dancers, unlikely to win many votes on Strictly Come Dancing!)

The specially-brewed anniversary ale, Tunnel's Solihull Silver Shield, was in great demand, and ultimately the festival-goers voted it Beer of the Festival. Other especially popular brews included Church End's Pilgrim Father and Son, Rooster's Wild Mule, Fernandes Bier Keller Bitter and Pictish Mandala (named after the Buddhist symbol, not the South African premier!)

Read the Solihull Beerhunter's report
See the Beer List

2006 Festival Sets New Standards

The 8th Solihull Beer Festival, which took place on 29-30 September, went down well with its hundreds of attendees - as did the 32 different cask-conditioned beers were enthusiastically drunk. The Beer of the Festival was voted as Pictish Brewery's Alchemists Ale.

I K Brunel, whose 200th birthday falls this year and whose "likeness" appeared on commemmorative tee-shirts and glasses, would also have been proud of the festival's innovative spirit in the form of two interactive displays. Attendees were invited to feel and smell a range of hop varietes kindly donated by branch member Bob Jackson and local breweries Tunnel and Weatheroak (many thanks to all three), and to browse an offline version of this website through a touch-screen display.

See the photo report
See the Beer List

2005 Festival a Great Success

Solihull's 7th Beer Festival - 643 Delighted Drinkers drink the festival dry before 10.00 p.m on Saturday! Another resounding success.

Read about it and see the pictures
See the Beer List

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