Special brews on a moon-landing theme
There's a space-age theme to this year's Leicester Beer Festival, which touches down from 13-16 March 2019 at the Haymarket Theatre, in the heart of the city centre.
With Leicester being home to the National Space Centre museum and educational facility, this year's festival commemorates the 50th anniversary of man's first steps on the moon on 24 July 1969.
Leicester University has also been involved with the space programme for more than 50 years and this year's festival glass features a special commemorative logo and is available in half-pint tankards and straight pint glasses, which will be priced at £3, refundable when patrons leave the festival as long as the glass is not damaged.
One of the major events on the real ale calendar, the festival's move to the Haymarket last year proved hugely successful, providing bigger and better facilities and an improved festival environment. With more than 230 different ales served straight from the cask, many from local microbreweries and new and small breweries from across the country, the festival offers a full range of beer styles including milds, bitters, golden ales, IPAs, stouts, porters and fruit beers. There will also be a craft ale bar and a real cider bar, with a range of 35 traditional ciders and perries.
The main festival supporter is Everards of Leicestershire, who return with their pop-up pub, serving five of their ales, including a new monthly special beer for March called "Patriot". This has been specially brewed in co-operation with the LMS Patriot Project... to build a new Patriot steam locomotive to the original Sir Henry Fowler design.
There will also be some interestingly named one-off brews produced by local breweries in connection with the festival's moon-landing theme. The brews are not re-badged or renamed for the festival... all are genuine first-time brews for Leicester Beer Festival.
A dedicated LocAle bar will also feature beers from east Midlands breweries and there will also be a bottled continental and UK craft beers bar, provided by well-known Leicester beer shop Brewklopedia. The festival will also see the return of the popular Travelling Juniper Berries speciality gin and Prosecco bar.
This year there is no large-scale entertainment planned, although Leicester Morrismen are expected to make an appearance on the Wednesday evening and the Anstey Morrismen on Saturday. The Haymarket Theatre is also looking to host some solo musicians on the small stage in the upstairs foyer, while Six Nations rugby matches will be screened in the "studio" theatre on the Saturday.
But there will be plenty of good food on offer such as Stilton cobs, local pork pies, sausage rolls, nuts, pork scratchings and the festival's famous curries which help make the beers go down a treat.
The festival opens from 5pm to 11pm on Wednesday, 11am to 11pm on Thursday and Friday, and 11am to 10pm on Saturday. Admission is £4 (£1 for CAMRA members) with free entry after 5pm on Saturday.
For more information about Leicester Beer Festival visit the Leicester CAMRA website.