Bath & Borders

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

Beer Festival 2023


After a two year gap Bath and Borders branch hosted our 2023 Festival over the weekend of 17-18 Feb, once again in the Widcombe Social Club just a few minutes from Bath Spa station. For the first time tickets were only available online and were all gone about two weeks before the event. This was our 42nd festival and bar managers Graham Church and Dave Holland presented visitors with 32 beers in a range of styles from 30 breweries.

2023 Bath Beer Festival Beer List.

As normal about half of the beers came from breweries in the Bath and Borders region with the balance from more distant breweries in England, Wales and (another first) Northern Ireland. The all-day session on Saturday (from 11.00 am to 7 pm) attracted the largest crowd since we moved to this venue in 2016 and about 50 early birds queued down the stairs and out the front door from about 10.45.

At the end of the event we still had 23 beers on sale. Nobody was surprized that St Austell Big Job 7.2% and Kelham Island Pale Rider 5.2% were the first firkins to sell out on the Saturday afternoon though I don’t think that anyone had Brains Dark Mild at 3.5% in the sweep. Ludlow Gold 4.2% and the pins of Bays Topsail 4.0%, Electric Bear Rock the Caskbah 3.8% and Just Brew It 4.0% all went too as did the boxes of Harmonious Brook 4.4% and Enlightened Spring 2.9% from local debutant Golden River. Firkins of Dark Side of the Ralph 5.0% from Ralph’s Ruin in Bath and Hoppelhammer 6.0% from Whitewater in Co Down were practically empty too.

This year we had three “Meet the Brewer” sessions and Will Hartley from Bath Ales, Max Cadman from Bath Brew House and Sam Ashall from Electric Bear Brewing all made themselves available to answer brewing related questions.

This years nominated charity was the Wellow branch of Riding for the Disabled Association(RDA) and the branch presented a cheque for £300 to Anne Allen and Sam Chant from RDA at a ceremony at Royal Oak , Lower Bristol Rd on 14th March.

Riding for Disabled Association Wellow RDA is part of the nationwide Riding for the Disabled Association, a national charity ( individual groups are autonomously run and entirely responsible for their own activities and funding. Wellow Group RDA have offered therapeutic horse riding to disabled children and adults from Bath, North East Somerset and surrounding areas for more than 30 years. The range of facilities at Wellow Livery Centre ( provides indoor and outdoor opportunities for riders, the vast majority are children, from pre-school age through to teenagers, but also a few young adults

The Widcombe Social Club hosts a wide range of events throughout the year and we thank the club for supporting the festival, our main sponsor St Austell who sponsored the festival glasses and Abbey Ales, Bath Brew House , Electric Bear Brewing, Frome Brewing , Tim at the Old Green Tree , Ralph's Ruin and Twisted Brewing for their sponsorship support. Thanks too to Steve (multi award winning) Plumridge who once again did the graphic design of the programme.

If we can summon the energy we’ll do it again next year, it looks like “Book early to avoid dis-appointment” may be the 2024 mantra.