2017 Rows of Casks

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 1,225 different casks of real ale from 387 different breweries, which we confidently believe was the widest wide range of real ales ever seen in the UK and almost certainly the entire world (apart from our 2016 Festival which had 1,274 beers)! This year  we guarantee that there will be well over ONE THOUSAND different casks of real ale, and as soon as the order is complete a link to the full list will appear on this page. The list will include a large number of new breweries that were not even brewing a year ago.

2017 More Rows of Casks

Gluten Free Beers

For 2017 we offered 32 gluten free real ales, the most by far that we have ever been able to find. For 2018 we will be attempting to offer an even larger number assuming we can source them.

Vegan Beers

Similarly, we were able to offer a fairly wide selection of beers suitable for vegans in 2017, well in excess of 200,  and as more and more brewers stop adding isinglass finings to their beers we are optimistic that even more beers in 2018 may be vegan friendly. Details of Vegan Beers are now listed with the main Beer listings when available.

What are Isinglass 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.

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.

Pedantic note - finings other than isinglass are available, these alternative finings are not made with animal products, they are chemical in nature and are not quite as affective in clearing beer. A small number of beers will be fined by this process but for convenience these are also shown as "unfined". So "unfined" is our shorthand for "not fined with isinglass" and so suitable for vegans.

Locale Logo

As you might expect from the branch that pioneered CAMRA's LocAle scheme we showcased beer from our local breweries and in 2017 over 25% of the volume 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 2017 we featured cask beers from 387 different UK breweries.

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The 2017 Beer Festival List can be found in .pdf or Word or Excel Spreadsheet format by clicking on the appropriate links.
The 201 Vegan Beer list is incorporated into the main Beer listings (see above)
The 2017 Beer Festival Programme can be downloaded in .pdf format here or from the Matelot Marketing website here

Page revised : 5th February 2018

Image(s) on this page information details and credits : Thanks to Andy Sales for the glorious stax of casks images from the 2017 Festival!