Countdown on to high-flying Wigan beer bash

The launch event for the 2018 Wigan Beer Festival
The launch event for the 2018 Wigan Beer Festival
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Wigan’s biggest beer festival is back and organisers hope the event will be flying high this year.

The 31st Wigan Beer Festival is at the start of March and is heading into the clouds with the theme Pie in the Sky.

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To continue the groan-inducing puns the mascot for this year’s beer festival is Pielot the airman.

Around 85 real ales will once again be on offer for the three days of supping at Robin Park Indoor Sports Centre but there are changes afoot at the foreign beer bar with the festival introducing modern craft ales for the first time.

Festival organiser Brian Gleave said: “We’re definitely looking forward to this year’s festival.

“The theme is just a play on words really with pies because we had to dream up something. I don’t think we’ve got any special aviation-themed beers on, we’re just going for good beers.

“We’ve done some renovation of the foreign beer bar, there will be some key keg craft beer on. This is recognised by Camra as real ale and a lot of trendier pubs now are offering this kind of beer.

“There will be some quite hoppy ones, some strong stouts and probably some sour beers too. It will make the festival more cutting-edge than we’ve had before.

“We’re just hoping people will come along and enjoy the festival. There’s usually a great atmosphere with no hassle and it’s not necessarily an expensive night out.”

As usual the ale selection will be divided into dark and pale and the festival will also give a nod to the increasingly-vibrant ale-making scene in the borough which now includes five breweries.

For the first time a prize will be given to the best Wigan beer of the event alongside the light and dark awards.

Alongside the craft newcomers the foreign beer bar will be laden with concoctions from Belgium, Germany, the USA and other ale-creating destinations.

There will be live entertainment at all sessions apart from Friday afternoon, which is a quiet event.

Heritage buses will once more be making their way to the Loire Drive venue from the town centre and admission prices have again been frozen, with the event free to get into for Camra members.

The 31st Wigan Beer Festival is at Robin Park Indoor Sports Centre from Thursday March 1 to Saturday March 3.

More information, including times, prices and beer lists, is available at beerfestival.wigancamra.org.uk/