The Campaign for Real Ale
Local CAMRA members have organised and run a beer and cider festival in Bedford every autumn since 1978, with the single exception of 2020, when Covid-19 regulations made such events impossible. However, we are pleased to offer our 43rd festival in October 2021, a simpler and slightly smaller event than usual, but with an attractive range of real ale and cider. There will be no live entertainers this year.
Wed 4-11, Thu-Fri 12-11, Sat 12-10.30.
Before 4pm £2; after 4pm: Wed £3, Thu £4, Fri £6, Sat £3
No advance booking – pay at the door
CAMRA members with a valid membership card will be admitted free at all times.
Short pass-outs to the street will be available for smokers or those who need to visit a cash machine.
Drinks at the bars will be purchased using a token scheme. Token sheets to the value £5 or £10 can be purchased at the Glasses counter and other places around the hall. Unused tokens can be retained for a later visit, refunded in cash or donated to charity.
Cash, card or phone payments will be accepted for admission, tokens and for purchasing guides or CAMRA membership.
No one under 18
Children and young people under 18 will not be allowed into the festival. ID may be requested at the entrance.
Wheelchair users can access all parts of the Corn Exchange, with a suitable toilet in the basement and a lift serving all floors, including street level.
About 80 real ales will be arranged alphabetically on two back-to-back bars in the main hall, including beers from local breweries. A full beer and cider list can be downloaded using the button above.
Craft and Foreign Beers
A limited range of craft and draught foreign beers will be available through KeyKeg dispense from a separate bar in the far right-hand corner of the main hall. There will be no imported bottled beers this year.
Cider and Perry
About 40 real ciders and perries will be available from a separate bar in the far left-hand corner of the main hall. Suppliers will include local cider makers in Bedfordshire and neighbouring counties.
A small range of red and white wines will be available on the Cider Bar. Wine glasses will be provided at the bar for a £1 returnable deposit.
A small mead stall run by specialist Rookery Mead will be located under the balcony in the main hall. Bottled mead will be available to sample and to take away.
Hot and cold food, snacks, fruit juice and hot drinks from local caterer Café Atlantic will be served in the Howard Room upstairs. Hot meals will be served every lunchtime and evening, but cold snacks and hot drinks should be available throughout festival opening hours. The menu will be displayed around the venue. Food is not covered by the festival token scheme and must be paid for direct to the caterer.
Visitors may not bring their own food and drink into the festival.
Carbonated soft drinks will be available free of charge from the Cider bar. Fresh tapwater will be available from the Glasses counter.
Beer and cider will be served in full, half and third pint measures in lined glasses that can be borrowed from the glasses counter. We will not offer our own souvenir festival glasses this year.
Tombola & Games
We expect to offer a tombola and pub game stall run by our friends from CAMRA East Bedfordshire branch. A range of attractive prizes is there to be won – remember “Every 1’s a Winner!”
Colin (The Pewter Scribe) will engrave your name or a message on your glass or other suitable objects for a modest charge.
You can leave your coat and bags safely in the basement cloakroom,which we hope will be run to support local charities.
Pass-outs for smokers
Arrangements for smokers to take short breaks outside the west door will operate while the festival is open. Drinks must be left inside as drinking in the street is prohibited.
Local businesses are invited to sponsor any real ale cask or cider available at the festival. For a £50 fee, an A3 size colour advert will be displayed close to the chosen cask throughout the festival, even after the cask runs out. Sponsors will receive VIP invitations to the festival. Private sponsors wishing to celebrate a birthday or similar event can get a similar deal for £35. To enquire, email email@example.com or call 01234 822698.
Join CAMRA here!
CAMRA membership is open to everyone over age 18. Subscription rates can be found online at www.camra.org.uk/membership-rates. Single or joint members joining at the festival will receive two free pints of beer or cider. Join early to get free admission for the rest of the week!
This festival is organised and staffed entirely by unpaid CAMRA volunteers and friends. Volunteers will receive free beer or cider of their choice and a discount on food when on duty. All local CAMRA members are invited to help. – just click the link on this page to open the online staffing form and confirm when you are available and the areas where you would prefer to work.
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was held 2nd to 5th October 2019 at the Corn Exchange Bedford MK40 1SL
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Many thanks to all volunteers and members who made it such a success.
43rd BEDFORD CAMRA BEER & CIDER FESTIVAL 2021
Wednesday 6th to Saturday 9th October 2021
Corn Exchange, St Paul’s Square, Bedford MK40 1SL