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Real Ale lovers convene at the Tuckers Maltings Beer Festival

The Victorian complex housing Tuckers Maltings is a most appropriate venue for the Tuckers Maltings Beer Festival. Sip as many of the 260 beers as you can in this 3-day event, which also features foot-tapping live music and hot food.
Organised by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) the is one of the premier beer festivals west of Munich’s Oktoberfest! Now celebrating well over 20 years since it started in 1992, it takes place in the unique venue of Tuckers Maltings on the fourth weekend of April each year..

3-Day beer festival in Newton Abbot

Any self-respecting real ale lover will not want to miss this great event. The sessions begin on Thursday evening, followed by two full days of sampling and entertainment from 11am to 11pm on Friday and Saturday. You’ll need to sleep off the after effects on Sunday, believe me!

There are now only four remaining malthouses in England that produce malt using traditional methods and in Newton Abbot is one of the best. After 180 years in the trade, they are well-known for producing some of the best quality malting barley in the southwest of England. The malthouse is known for its wide range of bottled malt beers and the Speciality Bottled Beer Shop onsite is a CAMRA aficionados dream.

What makes Tuckers Maltings particularly special is that it is the only malthouse that opens its doors to the public. As well as offering regular guided tours, it hosts the annual Maltings Beer Festival over three days in mid-April each year.

Entertainment and fine ales at the Tuckers Maltings Beer Festival

The beer festival showcases “the finest ales in the Southwest from SIBA members” and the event is organized by the southwest branch of the society. It boasts a choice of 140 West Country ales out of a total 260 beers on display. There are plenty of great hot food stands giving off delicious aromas of sausages and other goodies. The all-weather family marquee makes it a family-friendly event.

Live music and fine ale go hand-in-glove, so the event puts on some pretty special acts. In 2013, Friday night entertainment is by rock and pop band Mojo Filter, and it requires a separate armband/ticket for this evening event, which costs £7. The Friday daytime ticket from 11am to 5pm is just £3 and all other sessions including the full 11-11pm Saturday session are £5 admission. Card-carrying CAMRA members get £1 discount.

There are several highly rated awards to be fought over during the Festival and all eyes are on to see if they can win the Tuckers Maltings Cup as the overall winner for the fourth year in a row.

History of Tuckers Maltings

Established in 1831 by Edwin Tucker, the business has a long and interesting history. It has certainly been part of the Newton Abbot scene for over 180 years, and the occasional waft of malt from the brewery is all part of the charm of this rural town, particularly if you like malt beer.

Edwin Tucker’s original business was in seeds and he had a good reputation for supplying local farms with high quality seeds. The maltings side of the business fitted in well with his business as it allowed him to buy back the barley produced by his farming clientele. His malt beers were mostly sold at Newton Abbot and Totnes markets as there was no rail service and the beer had to be transported by horse and cart.

When the railway arrived in 1872, Edwin moved to his purpose-built malting at the Station Yard in Ashburton and later to the site adjoining Newton Abbot railway station where it remains today. With his three sons now engaged in the business, it expanded rapidly. One of Tucker’s early brewery customers was Guinness which is now a world-renowned producer of Irish Stout.

This family-operated business has endless experience in brewing bitters, malts, porters, lagers and stouts with names as crazy as Totty Pot, Black Boar and Peregrine. If you want to sample their brews in an authentic atmosphere, then the Tuckers Malting Beer Festival is THE beer festival to head for this April.

If you live in the Newton Abbot area, you may have attended the Maltings Beer Festival. Can you add any information for other readers? Do you know of other brewery-based beer festivals? We’d love you to share your thoughts 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.

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