Raise a glass to the Festival Fringe Fortnight!
Nottingham is currently in the midst of one of its largest and most eagerly awaited festivals in the calendar year – The Robin Hood Beer & Cider Festival. It’s an event that draws in visitors from all over the UK and Europe, as they drool at the prospect of tasting some of the finest real ales and ciders on the market, accompanied by tasty treats and hearty freshly made delicacies. Not only can visitors enjoy the festival itself, which runs from Wednesday 8th October – Saturday 11th October, but they can also visit the many small festivals, offers and events being held around the city as part of Festival Fringe Fortnight.
Here’s a few quick snippets of information to digest before we take you on a tour of what’s happening. Fringe Fortnight runs from the 4th – 19th October, guaranteeing you plenty of time to work your way around the many Nottingham pubs that are hosting events. In total, this years festival promises more than 1,250 real ales to choose from and over 200 real ciders. That’s a lot of liquid in anyone’s book! And, there will be 18 city pubs coming together to showcase their wares as part of the fringe fortnight – so you’re certainly not going to be stuck for choice on where to pull up a stool!
Now with all those impressive numbers stored away, let’s dig deeper and give you a flavour of what you can enjoy for fringe fortnight!
If we start at the gates of the castle, right in front of you is Fothergills. Here you will find gazebos lining Castle Road and a whole host of ciders and beers on offer to try for those walking past. At the top of Friar Lane and literally a stones throw from Fothergills, you will notice the Crafty Crow. As one of Nottingham’s most recent additions, the Crafty Crow is new to the fringe but that doesn’t mean it’s shy by any means. Their selection of artisan beers and accompanying snacks offer the perfect break from the main stream names and labels.
Sitting at the foot of the castle within Brewhouse Yard, the countries oldest inn, Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem, proudly puts forward its offering with a festival of its own entitled All Hail The Ale. This annual event accompanies the Robin Hood Beer and Cider Festival by showcasing a variety of tipples from the Nottingham Brewery as well as flavours from other Nottingham based breweries. Enjoy all this with a traditional hog roast and live music, and its a recipe for success!
If you venture further into the heart of the city on Friar Lane, discover the tasty brews on sale at the Ned Ludd and the Approach, with their supplies stocked up by the Nottingham based Navigation Brewery. The Ned Ludd will be hosting their own New Yorkshire Breweries IPA Festival on the 9th, 10th & 11th October – showcasing 8 breweries and 8 IPA specials. None of these will be available at the Robin Hood Beer & Cider Festival itself so this an exclusive opportunity to whet your whistle with something new. The Approach will be showing live sport and hosting great live music over the fortnight so check in with them to see what’s on! You can also enjoy the great taste of the Navigation Brewery at the Cross Keys Pub on Fletcher Gate and at the Trent Navigation on Meadow Lane outside the city centre with plenty of great offers on food and drink to be enjoyed at both locations as well as themed food nights throughout the week.
On Angel Row, just off the Market Square, stop off at The Bell Inn where history comes out in abundance with their network of caves and history seeping through every wall. Their Stout, Porter and Scrumpy Festival does exactly what it says on the tin and offers over 20 local brews to try for any visitor keen to drink surrounded by centuries of history in a traditional pub environment.
If you’re in the Lace Market area, why not stop off at The Kean’s Head, home to the wide selection of locally produced beers from Castle Rock Brewery. October is national Cider and Perry month, so be sure to ask which top ciders are behind the bar if you’re here or if you stop off at the Canalhouse, which must be the only pub with a canal running through it, or if you venture to the Vat and Fiddle on Queensbridge Road near the Train Station. The Vat and Fiddle is the Castle Rock Brewery Tap and offers you the chance to try every beer the brewery produces, whether it’s a regular beer or produced for a special occasion. For those of you further a field, the Bread and Bitter on Mapperley Top also stocks many of Castle Rock’s beers and is hosting its own Beer and Cider Festival as part of the Fringe Fortnight with top live music. So be sure to pop in and spoil yourself for choice during the fringe fortnight.
Finally, on the outskirts of the city centre, situated on the very trendy Derby Road, you will discover the Hand and Heart pub. Unique is defintely the word to use to describe this fantastic pub with its dining room located within a sandstone cave and thoughtful rustic interior decor. Take advantage of their food and drink offer during the fringe fortnight, with hot belly pork cobs and a half of Round Heart for just £5.95!
With all these brilliant watering holes open for business and with so many ales and ciders to choose from, you really will be spoilt for choice when choosing where to drink. Nottingham has a rich history when it comes to beer, and it’s only fitting that it has the Festival Fringe Fortnight to showcase exactly what it can do. So whether you’re a local, or you’re travelling from afar, make sure you take in the whole of Nottingham over the next couple of weeks and enjoy the Robin Hood Beer & Cider Festival and the Festival Fringe Fortnight.