Preview: Clifford Beer Festival, Leeds

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Next Saturday (June 24) sees the return of one of the best village beer festivals on the circuit, when no fewer than 30 cask ales will be served at Clifford Village Hall.

As village events go, this is a pretty impressive number. And unlike many festivals where beer is served directly from barrels racked up behind the bar, here all the ales will be cooled to the correct temperature by a professional quality system and dispensed through handpumps with sparklers, to present them foaming with a nice creamy head.

Event spokesman Richard Coldwell says: “Previous experience tells us that local drinkers don’t like flat beer drawn directly from the cask so we’ve teamed up with a professional cellar services company to give our customers the sort of pint they get in their local pub – there’ll be no flat pints here!”

Among the beers you can try will be Last Over, which has been specially created by Elland Brewery to celebrate the sporting achievements of Ryan Sidebottom, who is retiring from professional cricket this year. The Yorkshire and England star is a long-time supporter of the festival and has occasionally brought along his equally famous dad Arnie, who played both professional cricket and football in the 1970s and 80s. Says Ryan: “I’m really pleased to be connected with Clifford Beer Festival. It’s a fantastic charity raising money for local causes.”

The choice at the event ranges from the fiercely traditional Barnsley Bitter from Acorn Brewery to the American-influenced hop-bomb Baby Faced Assassin from Rooster’s at Knaresborough. Other highlights include two past Champion Beer of Britain winners – Elland’s 1872 Porter and Timothy Taylor’s Boltmaker. There will also be key keg beers, real ciders, wine, prosecco, hot food, ice cream, face painters and a programme of live music.

All funds raised will be split towards the village hall and Clifford football club which runs open age, junior and girls teams.

* This theme of beer supporting community causes is echoed in a new report this week from independent brewers’ organisation SIBA, which shows that 84% of independent craft breweries have supported at least one charity within the last 12 months, with 21% supporting more than five charities during this period. Whether it’s Cullercoats Brewery in Tyne and Wear raising over £30,000 for the RNLI or Sheffield’s True North supporting a local mental health charity, the report highlights how small breweries are helping to fill the void left by unfortunate community pub closures by opening brewery tap rooms, creating jobs – and backing worthy causes.

Sheffield’s Abbeydale Brewery is another one featured in the report, as each year they choose a different local charity to work with, brewing a full batch of beer in conjunction with the charity and donating 10p from every pint sold straight to the cause. Last year they joined forces with the Women’s Institute to raise money for Light Sheffield, a charity which benefits local mums with postnatal mental health issues. WI members joined in with the brew day, including zesting 100 lemons by hand, to create ‘Not Just Jam’ – a 4.1% lemon and Earl Grey pale ale.

* In other news, I’ve been recruited to judge the beer section of the Flavour of Herriot Country Awards – an annual celebration of the food and drink of Richmondshire and Hambleton. It’s a tough job, obviously, but it’s one I intend to take very seriously.

FACTFILE

Clifford Village Hall, Albion Street, Clifford, LS23 6HY.

Type: Charity beer festival

Opening hours: Noon-11pm Saturday June 24th for one day only

Admission: £5 includes festival beer glass, programme and first drink

Beers: Amazing selection of 30 cask ales, plus keg beers and real ciders

Wine: Good choice

Food: Traditional beer festival delights

Entertainment: Range of live acts including Lairum Rise Folk Group, This Way Up, DJ Andy Cunningham and the Heart and Soul Collective

Children: Welcome with adults. Face painting.

Beer garden: Yes with gazebo

Parking: Small car park plus on-street parking

Website: www.cliffordbeerfestival.co.uk

PIC: James Hardisty

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