2017 is going to be another great year for beer fans with even more new craft beer and real ale events popping up across the country.

We love beer and presumably if you’re reading this so do you, the recent surge in interest in craft beer has thankfully not left real ale behind and now we can celebrate both with some amazing festivals this year.

FebruaryFest

(3 February – 4 March, Glencoe)

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A whole month of Scotland’s finest beers. What could be better? For more than 20 years, FebruaryFest has been bringing beer to the thirsty, as well as live music, quizzes, and liberal splashes of whisky.

The festival is founded on three “basic principles”, which are “Good Beer, Hearty Food, Great Craic”.

If the wintry weather is getting you down, this festival is the perfect chance to get cosy and be cheered up by food, drink and banter galore. The spectacular scenery isn’t too bad, either.

Hopstars Micro Beer Festival

(5 February, Glasgow)

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This year, the Hippo Taproom is putting on its first ever micro beer festival.

With the focus on Scotland’s best breweries, the mini-bar will be serving a selection of excellent Scottish beers, as well as the finest beers from the rest of the UK, and the rest of the world.

The brewers whose beers will be front and centre are: Alechemy, Deadend Brew Machine, Fallen, Fyne Ales, Gallus, Out of Town and Up Front.

With tickets only £5, there’s no excuse to miss out on this lovely little event.

North Hop

(25 February, Aviemore; 14 – 15 April, Aberdeen;16-17 June, Glasgow; TBC, Edinburgh)

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North Hop began as a small craft beer festival in the Highlands three years ago, and now the four corners of Scotland can experience the best food, drink and music for themselves. It’s not just beer that’s on the menu – gin, cider, whisky and cocktails are also being celebrated, as are street food and live music.

Events include beer and food pairings, gin tastings, rum nights, pop-up cocktail lounges, and many more exciting activities. Designed with everyone in mind, you are sure to find plenty to enjoy at a North Hop festival.

Bandstand Beer and Music Festival

(27 April – 1 May, Nairn)

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This is the largest indie beer and music festival in the Highlands with more than 140 real ales, craft beers and ciders on offer, with some from Scotland, and some from further afield.

There is also whisky for those who are so inclined, and the live music programme is sure to get your foot tapping.

Charitable fund-raising also takes place each year, so you can rest easy knowing that you are helping a good cause. Delicious local food is a mainstay of the festival, with the barbecue always proving especially popular.

Inverurie Beer Festival – Beer @ the Barn

(28 – 30 April, Lochter)

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This beer festival’s name belies its true nature – it’s not just about the beer. With cider, gin, prosecco and Banchory’s local rum on the cards, it’s an offer that’s very hard to refuse.

Brothers Mungo & Guy Finlayson founded the festival in 2014 as part of the Banchory Beer Festival, and it just keeps getting bigger.
This spring festival also has a summer counterpart in September, with events at Lochter and Thainstone.

Eaglesham Beer Festival

(27 May, Glasgow)

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Street food and Scottish beer are the starts of the show at this festival. Eaglesham playing fields will play host to their beer festival in May, which also offers the finest wines and ciders, as well as live music, pub quizzes and raffles.

The beers on show in 2016 included brews from WEST, Brewdog, Drygate, Fyne Ales, Franciscan Wells, Loch Ness Brewery, and many others.

FyneFest

(2 – 4 June, Cairndow)

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With the 2017 beer list to be confirmed, you need not fret, because the 2016 FyneFest had over 150 beers from 39 of the world’s best breweries, as well as 20 ciders.

FyneFest also makes sure that their food matches up to the beer’s high quality, so expect delicious Loch Fyne oysters, top-notch Churchill venison, and, most Scottish of all, Real MacKay stovies.
Music is also a big part of the festival, as are cracking events for children, including face painting and kids’ entertainers.

To keep the adults amused there is a pub quiz and brewery tours, as well as yoga classes.

Currie Beer and Curry Festival

(9 – 10 June, Currie)

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It’s back and better than ever for its sixth year in a row. Both nights of Currie’s very own beer festival will feature live music from the Scottish band Cranachan.

The list of the festival’s real ales, ciders and wines just keeps growing, and the “Football Zone” will make sure that you don’t miss the World Cup Qualifier.

The event is entirely organised by volunteers, so you know that they are really passionate about real ale.

Meat and vegetarian curries will also be served in homage to the festival’s origin in the Edinburgh suburb of Currie.

Scottish Real Ale Festival

(6 – 8 July, Edinburgh)

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The Campaign for Real Ale’s festival has over 170 brews on offer, making it the world’s best showcase for Scottish ales.

There is also a select range of ciders and perries for those who feel a bit more fruity.

The festival has been on the go since 2003, so the organisers have plenty of experience creating the most enjoyable events.

The volunteers at the festival are real ale and cider fanatics, so make sure to ask for their special recommendations.
Music is another important component of the festival, with the emphasis on traditional Scottish folk performers.

Alba Real Ale Festival

(25 – 27 August, Dundee)

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The Royal Tay Yacht Club will play host to 2017’s Alba festival, with real ales, ciders and lagers taking pride of place. Over 1,500 are expected to turn up after the success of last year, which sold out within two days of tickets going on sale. There will be beers from 21 breweries, as well as a huge variety of live music, including jazz, reggae, R&B, rock and pop.

Sunday will be especially fun for families, with a bouncy castle, face-painting and a magician to entertain the younger visitors.

Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival

26 – 28 May, Edinburgh

(l-r) Andrew, Scott, Stewart Laing

Beers from over 30 internationally renowned brewers will be contributing to this new craft beer festival. Lervig, Firestone Walker, Dugges, Beerlbiotek, Pohjala and Yeastie Boys are among the brewers involved in this exciting event.

For many of the brewers, this will be their first time in Scotland, making this festival even more special.

The organisers have also asked DJs to play headline sets, and there will be plenty of Scottish street food to satisfy all tastes. The ticket price includes unlimited 100 ml tasters of beer and a souvenir glass, as well as entry.

About The Author

Maddy Searle

Maddy lives in Edinburgh and has written for the Sunday Herald and the Ed Fringe Review. She is passionate about authentic, sustainably sourced food, and is always keen to discover exciting new flavours.

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