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Beer festivals Spring to Summer 2019 – John the Gardner

May 21, 20190
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Off we go again!

It’s the new year so let’s try a new festival; the Salisbury Winter Ale Festival, a standard CAMRA event on a small site at the British Legion club right in the centre of Salisbury. Good transport links to Swindon on the Westbury line. Being a small location, it is a good idea to purchase tickets in advance.

The next beer festival that I was able to get to was, the Devizes winter Ale Festival. It is not a CAMRA festival, but it is run that way. Good entertainment and Dan The Hat (juggler, comedian and magician) seems mad as hatter and right on the ball – lots of fun had with the crowd. Bus links can be a problem if moving out from Swindon. It is easy enough to get back to Swindon from the bus but out the villages can be a problem.

The Red Lion Winter Festival was up to its fine standards. A good day out for all and run the same way as a CAMRA festival. A stunningly wide choice of beers on offer – some a little for strong for the faint hearted – but a great experience. Sadly, the bus links are not very good anymore. Even the taxi ended up at the wrong Red Lion – but all part of a good day out.

The next festival was the second Wanborough Festival at the New Calley Arms, raising money for the church and other local projects. Run as a CAMRA type festival by local volunteers. Bus times back to Swindon indicated the last the bus was 2:55 and the next one at 5:25 is not on the timetable. So its’ easy to get confused so please take note for next year as a taxi ride will be pricey. Unless you get a taxi to the hospital from Wanborough, then take a bus from hospital and avoid the call out charge for crossing the metropolitan zone. The locals call GWH the Wanborough taxi hub.

Now it is time for the Glue Pot Ale & Cider festival in its 6th Year. Being held at Easter it can move about a bit. Bank Holiday makes the buses a little bit odd too. Good Friday is actually not a bank holiday so buses do run normally. The beer is excellent and there is a wide range of it and the festivals operate on a standard pub cash, not token structure.

Next it is the big one at Chippenham, CAMRA run event and lots of good food available and as normal you can take your own food too. There is almost a tradition to see which table can provide the best picnic. Unfortunately, on the way home it was my time to fall over. Ouch!

Then it is back to Chippenham at the Three Crowns. It is a CAMRA award winning pub and the festival is not run on token basis. Very friendly event put on over the May Day Bank Holiday. It is well worth a visit.

Now it is time for The Sun at Lydiard Millicent, run on a CAMRA ticket festival. It is now on its 10th year, great beer, good entertainment and lots of space to sit outside under the marques. Always a great turn out. Sadly, one day after writing this the pub closed. Locals are in anticipation to see what happens next. It’s a great pub with a wonderful history.

That’s it for now – lots more to get to and hopefully not fall over again and if I do, I hope to land on the grass not the pavement.

– John the Wandering Gardner

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