We’re only here for the beer (and other brews too)

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DEVON’S biggest beer festival returns to Newton Abbot this week with a selection of more than 300 of the choicest brews being made available after an enforced break over the past two years due to Covid.

The Tuckers Maltings beer festival, or MaltingsFest to give it its new name, is being run by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) and will offer the largest selection of draught beers from West Country brewers.

It’s being held in Osborne Park in Newton Abbot from April 21 to 23 and will feature a larger selection of beers, both craft and cask, as well as locally produced cider and spirits.

‘We tried to re-schedule the event later in 2020 and again in 2021 but lockdowns, restrictions and uncertainty about Covid-19 made this nigh on impossible,’ said Paul Arrowsmith, the South West SIBA regional chairman.

‘We decided instead to come back bigger and better this year and we now have keg beers from our members, ciders and spirits produced or marketed by them alongside the huge range of cask ale that has been the backbone of the festival since its inception.

‘We wanted to retain the festival’s heritage in Tuckers Maltings but have to move on, so have adopted the name MaltingsFest to go forwards.

‘Warminster Maltings are our main sponsor and their traditional floor maltings takes barley from many of the farmers who once supplied Tuckers and supplies malt to many of the brewers showcasing their beer at this festival.’

All the beers are judged in a competition which is held on the Thursday before opening to the public. The number of classes has increased over the years and to win an award is regarded as a great help to a brewer’s marketing.

SIBA South West members present Newton Abbot mayor Cllr Mike Joyce with a cheque for the mayor’s charity. Pictured with Mike Joyce, right, are, from left, Guy Sheppard, John Doe and Adrian Wood. (MDA/StevePope)

This will be the 28th festival to be held. Until 2018, it was housed mainly on one of the Tucker’s Maltings malt floors.

Following that business’s closure later that year, it moved fully outside to be a tented festival in Osborne Park.

As in previous years local food will be available during opening hours and there will be live music on the Friday and Saturday evenings.

For full details of the event see www.maltingsfest.co.uk

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