It is an exciting time at the moment for beer drinkers in Gloucester. I recently blogged heaping fulsome praise on the excellent Gloucester CAMRA Beer Festival, and at the same time an alternative beer festival was taking place at The Dick Whittington in Westgate Street.
The very next week there was another superb beer festival, this time at the Fountain Inn in Westgate Street to celebrate the 25th birthday of Ben, the ridiculously young landlord. And there is more to come over the next few weeks.
Next Sunday (17 May) sees the most eagerly awaited pub opening for a long time: Gloucester Brewery’s new bar in Gloucester Docks, TANK Gloucester. The brewery operation has already been moved to the other side of the canal at the Fox’s Malthouse, and the old brewery building is being turned into a craft beer bar, the first of its kind in the city.
The TANK Gloucester Facebook page has been putting out pictures over the past few weeks showing the progressing development of the bar and teasers such as the impressive looking bar taps and testing the new menu of local cheeses and artisan charcuterie. Throw in the 100-litre nano brew-plant, which they’ll be using to produce small batches of one-off beers, and you have a seriously exciting prospect.
This means that TANK Gloucester will be up and running in time for the Tall Ships Festival, which is taking place over the late May Bank Holiday weekend. This is almost certainly Gloucester’s biggest event for pulling in tourists to the city, and this year the excitement is not confined just to the Docks. Alongside the Tall Ships is the city’s inaugural Sea Shanty Festival, giving the city centre, including several of the pubs, a chance to get in on the act too.
The Shanty Festival features a great line up of around 30 nationally and internationally acclaimed acts playing at venues around the city, including the Cafe Rene, Fountain and Cross Keys. What better way to get into the spirit of things in the most in-land port in the country – grog of rum optional.
After all that excitement you barely have time to catch your breath before another of the city’s finest pubs hosts its beer festival: the Pelican’s annual festival celebrating the anniversary of its re-birth as a Wye Valley pub is on the weekend of 5-6 June.
Once again, Facebook is full of teasers for the beers, ciders, entertainment and food that will be available to make sure you don’t want to go anywhere else. Past event suggest this is definitely not a beer festival to miss.
Looking further ahead we have another pub opening, which has excited more mixed feelings: Wetherspoons third pub in the city, the Lord High Constable, opens in the Docks, right next door to Tank, at the end of June.
And then, before you know it, that highlight of the Gloucester pub-goers calendar will be upon us: the annual Gloucester Rhythm and Blues Festival from 25 July to 2 August.
It’s going to be a busy summer!