Beer Fest – New Mayor pulled first pint


Thurrock beer festival was opened this week by the new mayor of Thurrock, Barbara Rice who was on hand to pull the traditional first pint at Thurrock Beer Festival at the Civic Hall, Blackshots, on Tuesday, June 5.

Ale lovers and beer drinkers can sample Essex’s finest at the Civic Hall, in Blackshots Lane, Grays.

The festival, organised by the Campaign for Real Ale, is running from Tuesday until Saturday.

More than 160 real ales, ciders and perry, as well as English country wine and perrys, are available.

Tickets are FREE Tuesday – Friday during lunchtime sessions, £3 Thursday evening, £4 Friday evening and £2 all day Saturday with the festival closing it’s doors for 2018 at 7pm. CAMRA members have free entrance at all times.

The festival is having lunchtime and evening sessions through to Friday from noon to 3pm and 6 to 11pm and on Saturday all day from noon to 11pm.

One of the organisers of the festival, Lisa Ridley who is awaiting an expected 3,500 drinkers was pleased with the festival’s reaction in its early period.

She said: “I think when we opened the doors at 12 and there was a queue outside, it gave it away that people have been waiting for it to happen for weeks.”
The hall opened in 1964, and the festival moved to its current location in 1990 where it has remained the same week of the year ever since.

Lisa continued: “We do have our regulars that know this is the day every year and probably cross it off their calendars.”

The festival prides itself on providing the highest quality ales from the best brewers in the country.

The local breweries are based in Billericay, South Woodham Ferrers where their main provider, Crouch Vale is based, Brentwood, Colchester and Grays where the event is held.
The festival also brings in products from brewers as far up as Yorkshire and as far down as Cornwall and Somerset.


As well as a host of drinks, the festival is providing music throughout Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The community within the hall is not just made up of consumers however, many brewers from around the area were present to support the event and taste the newest ales available from the companies on show.

Since it first begun over 20 years ago, the festival has changed what it offers in order to move with the trends of public taste.

Lisa continued: “As opposed to being I would say around 20 years ago 90 per cent men, it’s now become a complete mixture, with around 40 per cent women on an evening, due to cider’s popularity and our now offering wine.”

Although the festival is now catering to the needs and tastes of a wider market, Thurrock local and long time volunteer, John Chapman, said: “You can only serve good beer.”


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