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Welcome to the Sussex Beer Festival

The 27th Festival is confirmed for Thurs 23rd - Sat 25th March 2017 at our new venue: Brighton Racecourse.

May 2017: 21st South Downs Real Ale & Cider Festival

The 21st South Downs Real Ale & Cider Festival will take place at the usual venue, Lewes Town Hall, on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 June 2017. We will be celebrating our ‘coming of age’ festival with a key of the door logo & hopefully a VERY SPECIAL collaboration ale by two very local breweries!

There will be around 90 cask beers for you to sample, along with a range of
cider and perry. Non-alcoholic drinks will also be available, plus a range of hot food and snacks, including vegetarian options supplied by local firm, Circa Events. The festival will as usual be music- free.

This year all sessions will be admission by ticket only (although, if tickets are returned from the outlets, they will be available on the door). Tickets will be on sale from Friday 5 May 2017, at The Gardeners Arms, Harveys Brewery Shop and The Brewers Arms in Lewes, and the Evening Star in Brighton. Alternatively, please apply by post to: South Downs Beer Festival Tickets, 139 Elm Grove, Brighton, BN2 3ES, stating session required and enclosing a SAE and cheque, payable to “South Downs Beer & Cider Festival”. Please note if you do not enclose an SAE we will NOT send out the tickets. Tickets remain the same price as last year and are as follows:

The ticket costs are:

  • Friday 16/06/16 11.00 - 15.00 £4.00
  • Friday 16/06/16 17.00 - 22.30 £7.00
  • Saturday 17/06/16 11.00 - 18.00* £5.00
    *or until the beer runs out.

Customers will receive a free glass and a programme with tasting notes. In addition, CAMRA members will receive £2.00 in beer tokens per session on production of their valid membership card.

We have plans for one-off brews and ‘first available’ beers at this event.

Please note over-18s only. If you are lucky enough to look under 25, please ensure you bring photo ID. Well behaved dogs on leads are welcome but only in the seating area of the beer festival.

The venue is easy to find. From the railway station turn right, climb the hill to the traffic lights, cross over and it’s on the right. The venue is wheelchair accessible with a disabled toilet. The town boasts a number of excellent pubs that are well worth seeking out if you have the time, or indeed the capacity.

April 2017

It is with great sadness that we have to report the sudden death of Ruth Anderson, the festival organiser for the Sussex Branches and South Downs Beer & Cider Festival.

Ruth took on the task of finding a new venue for the 2017 Sussex Branches Beer Festival. It was due to her hard work that, after many visits to various venues and much deliberation, Brighton Racecourse was chosen.

Ruth was always willing to help the Brighton and South Downs branch in any way whether by surveying pubs for the Good Beer Guide, distributing the Sussex Drinker or doing anything to help the branch run smoothly.

She will be remembered as a great campaigner and was quite happy to take on the role of organiser for both festivals.

A private person, she will be greatly missed by all those who knew her.

Peter Mitchell
For the organising committees of the Sussex Branches and South Downs Beer & Cider Festivals.

April 2017: 27th festival was a success (& beers of the festival)

Moving to a new, bigger venue did not deter over 2600 drinkers from all parts of the county braving the high winds to attend the recently held 27th Sussex Beer & Cider Festival.

The Bev Robbins Award for the Sussex Beer of the Festival was Lower Beeding based Kissingate Brewery, Murder of Crows, a complex 10% Imperial Stout.

Those attending voted as their Beer of the Festival, Settle Blood Orange IPA. Based in Settle, North Yorkshire the beer is described as being packed with fresh blood oranges and American hops.

Sussex cider producer Seacider won Cider of the Festival with Seacider Mango and the Perry of the Festival was Gwynt Y Draig Two Trees.

The chosen festival charity was St. John Ambulance and, thanks to the generosity of the festival goers, £1,832 was raised by cash and unwanted beer tokens.

Peter Mitchell
April 2017

March 2017: downloadable programme and beer list changes

The good news: the festival programme (a hard copy of which is provided upon entry to the festival) is now available to download (1.8mb pdf, opens in new tab).

The bad news: some of the beers have changed from the list in the programme (which is the same as the provisional list we published recently)..

The good news again: we can at least tell you what has changed on our Beers page.

March 2017: Sussex ciders and perries

Not only will there be beer on sale at the festival but an excellent selection of local ciders and perries, in fact over forty will be available.

Ciders and perries, made with pears, from the many Sussex producers such as Oakwood, Robertsbridge: South Downs, Wilmington: Village Green, Turners Hill and Wild Thing, Portslade will be on sale as well from other producers around the country.

For those of you in the distribution area, keep an eye out for a competition to win tickets in the Brighton & Hove Independent free newspaper.

March 2017: provisional beer list, plus free transport to the SBCF & ticket outlet update

The first cut of the provisional beer list is now online.

To assist the discerning drinker to the 27th Sussex Beer & Cider Festival to be held at Brighton Racecourse on the 23 – 25 March, shuttle buses are being provided to get to the festival.

Free shuttle buses including the Dark Star Brewery vintage double decker will be running from the Brighton Station car park to and from the venue but not on Saturday evening. A full timetable will be issued on the festival website.

Brighton and Hove buses number 2 and 22 stop outside the racecourse and numbers 21,21A and 23 stop nearby. For full bus details go to

For more information and shuttle bus timetable, see the Venue page.

Please also note that, whilst the Evening Star in Brighton is closed for refurbishment, tickets will be available from The Lord Nelson, Trafalgar Street, Brighton and The Brighton Bier Dispensary, Dean Street, Brighton.

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