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Abbfest Beer & Cider Festival – Devon’s Answer to Oktoberfest!

Started as a beer & cider festival in 2004, Abbfest now includes chef demonstrations, craft stalls, children's entertainment & a programme of live music.
As Munich gears up for Oktoberfest, South Devon girds itself for the start of Abbfest, a three-day ale and cider extravaganza over the third weekend in September. The event features scores of local breweries, over 120 ales and a dozen or so ciders to excite any connoisseur.

Abbfest – where and when?

Abbfest Beer and Cider Festival is held at between Abbotskerswell and Ipplepen, and if you haven’t happened across either of these delightful communities before, Abbfest is a great excuse to do so. The event is in its 11th year in 2014, and the special guests are who will be singing on the Sunday.

There is a small admission charge to attend individual days at Abbfest with a weekend pass for just £10. All proceeds go to local charities and good causes. To date, the organisers have raised over £127,500 to make a difference to the lives of the less fortunate.

Although it advertises itself as a Beer and Cider Festival, Abbfest has gradually expanded to include a whole array of family entertainment as you will see. Here’s a tip from a local. Start your visit by browsing the 70+ stalls of Devon food and local crafts in the Food and Crafts Hall where local chefs are on hand to offer advice and entertaining demos. If you don’t shop early, some of the best samples and bargains will have been snapped up.

Abbfest is a great place to start your Christmas shopping, especially if you want to pick up some local Devon goodies to make up a Devon hamper – and who wouldn’t want to receive a gift like that at Christmas?

Chef demos and an Antiques Roadshow

Duty and shopping done, you can turn your attention to the more immediate pleasures of food and drink. As well as locally brewed beer, wine and cider there are soft drinks, tea and coffee to lubricate the hog roast lunch, barbecue or your pick of enticing food from one of the local vendors. Free range meats, local cheese samples and some of the best ice cream in the world can be found here, along with the more predictable pickles, jams and relishes.

A visit to one of the chef demonstrations is sure to spike your appetite with their mouth-watering recipes and tips on how to make the most of Devon meat, fish and dairy produce. Local fun chef and restaurateur Collin Pereira will be demonstrating Indian cuisine along with demos by and Anton Piotrowski, joint winner of in 2013.

Entertainment for children includes pony rides and fun activities in the Children’s Marquee, supervised by the Ipplepen Playgroup. As well as a bouncy castle there will be rides, games, crafts, face painting and side shows to keep them happily distracted.

Live evening entertainment at Abbfest

In the evening, Abbfest settles down to more adult entertainment. Details have yet to be announced for 2014 but last year’s lineup included who delivered a mellow mix of music from sax, guitar and vocals. Later, four-piece rock band paid homage to the rock icons such as Queen and Bon Jovi.

Hang around on Saturday afternoon and enjoy more local bands such as vintage jazz band and Devon singer and songwriter who typically invites requests, hecklers and underwear throwers to join in a couple of hours of lively fun.

Have you attended Abbfest in the past? Care to tell us what you enjoyed and what you would recommend for others hoping to attend this great beer and cider fest? We’d love you to add your comments below.

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.


  1. Matthew says:

    Best ice creams in the world ay. I like the sound of that. Who is this mysterious winner of Masterchef? I googled Masterchef 2013 winner and the only name that came up was Rhys Badcock but that was the American Masterchef. I’m glad Michael Caines will be there. Will there be a chance to have a chat with him after the demonstrations or will he be too busy behind the scenes?

    Also are there any apprenticeship or voluntary opportunities available at these chef demonstrations or the food hall in general? I’d like to see if I can get my son in there if it’s possible.

    • Masterchef now appears in four versions: the main MasterChef series, MasterChef: The Professionals for working chefs, Celebrity MasterChef, and Junior MasterChef, for 9-to-12-year-olds.

      So far for 2013 Jack Whitehall has won Comic Relief does MasterChef and Natalie Coleman has won Masterchef.

  2. Zaiva says:

    I’m not the biggest fan of alcoholic drinks, but I have heard of the Oktoberfest, and I know it attracts many tourists from all over the world to try traditional beers and such. I would definitely make an exception to my non-alcoholic diet to try some of the local beers and ciders, who wouldn’t? :)

    I’ve had a few beers in my lifetime to know there’s a difference, so it would be interesting to see what the local beers and ciders taste like, and how they vary to the North. Gives a good opportunity to breweries as well to make a name for themselves, and hopefully bring in more business. Has anyone ever been to this festival or Oktoberfest?
    Zaiva recently posted: The Ghosts of the Tower of LondonMy Profile

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