National Winter Ales Festival

National Winter Ales Festival
The National Winter Ales Festival (NWAF) is an annual event organized by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), an independent voluntary consumer organization which promotes real ale, real cider and the traditional British pub. The festival focuses on showcasing the best real ales available in the United Kingdom in winter.

The National Winter Ales Festival was created in 1997. It is the wintertime counterpart of CAMRA’s Great British Beer Festival (GBBF). While the GBBF is always held in London, its sister festival changes its host city once in a few years. Past hosts cities have included Glasgow, Manchester, Burton upon Trent, Derby, and Norwich. The festival is generally held in January or February.

The main highlight of the festival is the Champion Winter Beer of Britain Awards. Nominated beers are grouped into several categories depending on their style or strength. These categories include Old Ales & Strong Milds, Barley Wines, Porters and Stouts. Nominees go through a round of blind tasting. Category winners are re-judged to determine the ultimate champion. The winners from each category participate in the Champion Beer of Britain competition that takes place at the GBBF in August.

The National Winter Ales Festival showcases the best winter ales from all over the United Kingdom, offering a truly national selection of real ales. Numerous breweries present mild ales, bitters (pale ales), best bitters, strong bitters, golden ales and specialty beers. Some ales showcased at the festival have been specially commissioned for the NWAF. Alongside winter ales, the festival showcases ciders, perries (pear ciders), and bottled beers from around the world. A selection of locally produced and prepared hot and cold food is also available at the festival.

The NWAF attracts over 13,000 attendees who consume more than 55,000 pints of beer every year. As well as beer tastings, the festival offers entertainment such as live music and traditional pub games.

National Winter Ales Festival


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