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Nottingham celebrated Craft Beer Week during the second week of June, with seven days of talks, tap takeovers, meet the brewer nights and various beery events followed by the ultimate culmination: Nottingham Craft Beer Festival.

[l-r] Brewer Dan Gilliland, sales rep Carl Duke and head of marketing Lewis Townsend manning the festival bar – photo by Tom Morley

NCBW started small but wasn’t without ambition. As the C14th proverb says: great oaks from little acorns grow. This year, Nottingham Craft Beer Week had more pubs and bars take part than ever before, with a huge, eclectic and entertaining blend of events and beer showcases.

We’ve always aimed to get as many of our pubs involved as we can, and this year we hosted a cacophony of unique events, from a series of brewer lectures in association with the Brewers Journal at the Canalhouse, to local craft beer showcases at the Embankment and a series of MTB/TTO events at the Barley Twist, Stratford Haven, Canalhouse, Kean’s Head and the Fox & Grapes.

Session, Sourlero, FRUIT v3, SIPA v2, on the bar along with IPA v3 and Storming the Emperor’s Castle. Photograph Credit: Tom Morley. 

We were also honoured and proud to have our developmental brewer Dan Gilliland give one of the very first ‘Bread Talks’ at the Bread and Bitter, an opportunity he used to talk about his personal journey with beer and pubs, and why pubs are such important social linchpins. (Dan’s kindly turned his talk into a blog post, which you can read in the July-September edition of the Castle Rock Quarter, or right here on the Castle Rock website.)

We know Nottingham is synonymous with beer all year round, with stunning beer from traditional and modern camps regularly flowing through taps and hand pulls dotted across our compact little city.

However, it’s fantastic when all the city’s top venues come together for one purpose during that one week of June, and although for some of it the weather wasn’t totally on our side, we still saw people out in droves – not least with the march up Mansfield Road to attend the Lincolnshire Poacher’s 30th birthday celebrations.

It was also wonderful to be part of the second ever Nottingham Craft Beer Festival at Sneinton Market, a real showcase of some of the most interesting and exciting beer to come out of Nottingham, and the UK overall.

James, general manager of the Poppy and Pint working the NCBF bar. Photograph Credit: Tom Morley. 

It was the perfect opportunity to showcase what we at Castle Rock have been working on in recent months, from our new exotic fruit sour to our double mashed imperial stout in collaboration with Emperor’s Brewery. It was a way for us to show our commitment to constantly developing, constantly tweaking and improving and always wanting to have fun along the way.

It also became the place where our head of marketing, Lewis Townsend completed “Razorquest”, joined by his wife Jess, two other Castle Rockians and Ezra from Six Barrel Drafthouse. The group head-shave was in effort to raise money for MIND, a charity that aims to be there for anyone suffering from mental health problems, tirelessly campaigning for better services and promoting understanding and awareness.

We are super proud of them all for bravely facing the shavers and raising over £1, 200 for MIND, and counting! A massive thank you to Brik Squared Barbershop for kindly donating your services for the momentous MIND headshave and to everyone that donated online or at the festival.

Before:

[l-r] Lewis Townsend and Jessica Townsend, Carl Duke, Vat and Fiddle supervisor Liam Garret, Ezra Watson from Six Barrel Draft House, and volunteers from Brik Squared Barbershop. Photograph Credit: Tom Morley. 

After:

[l-r] Lewis and Jess Townsend, Ezra Watson, Liam Garret and Carl Duke. Photograph Credit: Tom Morley. 

A huge thank you to our great friends at LeftLion, along with Adam from NFU Mutual, Nigel from Junkyard and everyone else who works extremely hard to get both NCBW and NCBF off the ground. We appreciate what you’ve done for our city – it’s really put Nottingham on the map and with our beer scene, so it should!

And of course, big thanks to our lovely customers who joined us in our pubs during Nottingham Craft Beer Week and enjoyed our beers at the festival. As always, it’s much appreciated!

If you want to learn more about MIND charity please click here. If you would like to make a donation please click here.

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