Real Ale Festival

CAMRA, the biggest consumers’ rights organisation in the country, have been campaigning on behalf of pub drinkers since 1971. It is this organisation which coined the term ‘real ale’. Real ale, according to the society, must be ‘brewed from traditional ingredients, matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed, and served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide’. This method ensures that living yeast is still present in the cask from which the beer is served, thus keeping it fresh. Electric pumps are frowned upon: real ale should be drawn by gravity from a hand pump on the bar. Harveys Best currently holds CAMRA’s gold medal for best Best in the country, quite an accolade.

The Gardeners is easily the best real ale pub in Lewes, as it always has a number of guest ales alongside its range of Harveys bitters. But once every year Lewesians get the chance to sample scores of other ales (as well as naturally produced ciders and perries) from around the country as CAMRA South Downs Beer and Cider Festival, currently in its 10th year. There will be over 55 varieties this year, and participants will have three chances to get through as many as they can, on Friday lunchtime and evening and all day Saturday. The Friday evening slot has already sold out. Tickets are available from the Gardeners or on the door on Friday lunchtime. AL

A pint proven (1): Harveys Best is one of 55 ales on offer
in this year’s CAMRA Festival

Corn (and Hops) Exchange, Town Hall, Lewes
When? Fri 11-3pm and 5-10.30pm; Sat 11-8pm.
How much? Fri lunch £2.50, Sat £4, free 5-8pm

(t) 01273 683322