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Nottingham's annual CAMRA beer festival has a long established reputation for offering customers the biggest possible selection of quality cask ales. Last years' festival offered a staggering choice of 1,276 different casks of real ale which we confidently believe was the widest wide range of real ales ever seen in the UK and almost certainly the entire world! This year we have yet to start work on the beer order but we guarantee that there will be well over ONE THOUSAND different casks of real ale!

Gluten Free Beers

For 2016 we offered 19 gluten free real ales, the most by far that we have ever been able to find. For 2017 we are confident of significantly increasing that number as more breweries have now started to produce them.

A list of gluten free beers will appear here a few weeks before the festival.

Vegan Beers

Similarly, we were able to offer a fairly wide selection of beers suitable for vegans in 2016, and as more and more brewers stop adding isinglass finings to their beers we are optimistic that over 200 of our beers in 2016 may be vegan friendly. Again details will be published here when known.

What are finings?

At the Festival you will notice numerous beers marked as “unfined” and will no doubt be wanting to know what this means. Well it means they are suitable for vegans but there is a lot more to it than that and omnivores will be just as interested to sample these interesting brews.

Given enough time beer will clear naturally, but there is often not time to allow it to settle in the cellar for a couple of weeks or more, while nature does it’s thing. So it has long been the practice to add a suspension of tropical fish swim bladders mixed with sodium metabisulphite (a disinfectant and preservative). This is called isinglass and the majority of beers at our festival will be cleared by this method. The process is known as fining the beer.

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However it is becoming accepted by some drinkers that beer does not have to be crystal clear to taste good. We accept that a wheat beer is going to be cloudy and we perhaps expect a very hoppy IPA to have some hop haze – so what’s the difference? Nothing, there is nothing special about crystal clear beer and naturally conditioned, hazy beer has loads of flavour. An alternative to fining the beer would be to filter it, this will clear any haze and it is a vegan friendly method. But filtering also strips out flavour, the one thing brewers have worked hard to put in - ever wondered why mass produced keg beers and lagers are tasteless compared to cask beer?!  So will hazy beer give you a bad stomach? Not if the haziness is caused by yeast suspension, as in our unfined beers (unless you’re allergic to yeast). Brewers yeast is a natural product and a source of Vitamin B and protein. So look out for beers marked as “Unfined” at our festival and give them a try, we think you will agree it is worth it. And of course these beers are suitable for vegans to enjoy.

Locale Logo

As you might expect from the branch that pioneered CAMRA's LocAle scheme we showcased beer from our local breweries and in 2016 over 25% of all beer consumed came from breweries located within 20 miles of the festival. We also source beers from all over the country and in 2016 we featured cask beers from 414 different UK breweries.


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The 2016 Beer Festival List can be found in .pdf or Word or Excel Spreadsheet format by clicking on the appropriate links.
The 2016 Vegan Beer list available here
The 2016 Beer Festival Programme can be downloaded in .pdf format here or from the Matelot Marketing website here

Page refreshed : 8th May 2017

Image(s) on this page information details and credits : The Nottingham Brewery Stand images are from a private collection.