Europe’s largest student-run beer festival returns to Warwick
After a successful return from the pandemic in 2022, the Warwick University Real Ale festival will be returning for its 43rd year on February 16.
For £3.50 entry, students and locals can enjoy more than 100 British Beers and more than 50 Ciders alongside live music, a hog roast done by Lazy Pig, Turbo Purple, and much more.
Between February 16 and 18, from 6pm to late, one of the highlights of the SU calendar is returning for another year. The festival enjoyed great success last year as students slowly returned to regular life, and this year is looking to continue to be one of the standout events of the year.
Recently, The Boar spoke to the President of all things Real Ale, the self-proclaimed Drinker-in-Chief, Rowan Caldwell, about what the people can expect from this year’s festival. Rowan joined the society during the Coronavirus pandemic and thought the society was perfect for him because of his love of drinking. After joining Politics Society because of his degree, and Scottish Soc because he supported Scotland, naturally Real Ale Society was an obvious choice.
In terms of what students can expect when they enter the hallowed halls of the Copper Rooms, Rowan remarked: “You will be overwhelmed by the number of casks we have. For people who are coming to the festival for the first time, you can expect a mixture of regulars and students and, most importantly, beer.”
“Try as much as possible,” recommended Rowan, “there are ones that sound really interesting like a peanut butter stout or a Tzatziki sour among many other options. Just see what works for you, get halves, and go around trying different styles of beer and cider and all the other drinks we have on offer.”
“You’ll find something that works for you, I’d recommend exploring and finding what you like and going from there. We’ve got enough of each different type that you can branch into whatever you want.”
In terms of what the President would recommend, Rowan said: “Hammerton’s Peanut Butter flavored ‘Crunch’ is genuinely one of the best beers I’ve ever had. I first had it at Arsenal vs Brentford at the Euston Tap and me and my mate genuinely loved it, so I’m delighted we can have it at the festival this year.”
“I also champion Scottish Heavies, so last year we had Fosse Way’s ‘Daddy’s Little Warlord’ which the other members of the exec said was ridiculous and that I was being stupid, but it ended up selling out on the first night, so the beer I’m championing is another Scottish heavy – it’s Mad Squirrel’s ‘Tartan’, and it will undoubtedly be the best beer at the festival, once again.”
You can get beers at the festival that you just can’t get anywhere else, Real Ale Festival is the culmination of the student spirit, the entertainment is done by the students, it is run by the students, and demonstrates what this student population can do
Rowan also said that even if you’re not into beer, the festival has non-alcoholic drinks, alongside over 40 different ciders, fruit wine, and mead, meaning that most people are likely to find something to enjoy: “I know a couple of people who went to last years festival who were introduced and enjoyed beers because they didn’t particularly taste like beer. Liefmans’ Fruitesse is a really good introduction to beer because it tastes strongly of strawberries and is very pleasant but it’s still a Belgian beer.”
In terms of what will be different this year, Rowan answered: “More casks, more kegs, more boxes of cider – our entertainment is entirely student based. Thursday night is Folk Night with a couple of student bands and Folk Society. I’ve worked with Folk Society before on Scottish Soc ceilidhs and they’re amazing.”
“Apart from that, students can expect the same great event. Last year was a very good benchmark coming out of the pandemic as we didn’t know the success of the festival, some festivals we have had both the upstairs and downstairs of the SU, but post-covid we have used Copper Rooms 1 and the Rouge Bar. We have a smoking area this year. We have some really exciting beers and more of it.”
“You can get beers at the festival that you just can’t get anywhere else, Real Ale Festival is the culmination of the student spirit, the entertainment is done by the students, it is run by the students, and demonstrates what this student population can do.”
Just like last year, half of the profits that the festival makes go to some incredible causes, with the festival supporting Myton Hospices and Hope Coventry this year. In previous years the festival has been able to raise thousands of pounds for good causes, and if it can continue last year’s success it will undoubtedly be a memorable event and provide a great deal of aid to charities that need it.