Beer lovers are in for a treat this May, as Newbury Racecourse has announced it will be hosting its first Best of British Beer Festival, in association with West Berkshire Brewery on Saturday 14 May.  The raceday also features Newbury’s jewel in the crown of its Flat season the Group 1 JLT Lockinge Stakes.

As well as featuring seven adrenalin-charged Flat races including the JLT Lockinge Stakes, 50 beers and ciders will be available for tastings from 13 UK breweries, including Dark Star, Pilgrim, Ramsgate, RCH, White Horse, Crouch Vale, Abbey Ales, Two Bridges Brewery, Little Ale Cart, Blue Monkey, Ascot Ales, Milton Brewery, Arkles, Tutts Clump and Upton’s Cider. Several mild ales will also feature, coinciding with CAMRA’s Mild Month in May, including Brewers Gold and Black Cat both previous winners of the Champion Beer award.

Foodies can also enjoy Great British favourites such as traditional Fish and Chips, British Bangers and tasty homemade pies.  The MG Club display will add a further British twist, giving motor fans the chance to get up close and personal with a vintage classic from the world of motoring.

Historically the JLT Group 1 Lockinge Stakes has produced some of Europe’s finest mile specialist horses with Paco Boy (2010), Red Evie (2007), Peeress (2006), Rakti (2005), Hawk Wing (2003) and Medicean (2001) all belonging to its prestigious roll of honour over the past ten years.  The race is the highlight in Newbury’s Flat racing calendar, with a total prize money value of £175,000 and combined with a day of quality horseracing the racecourse is looking to its inaugural Best of British Beer Festival to broaden the appeal of the fixture to a wider audience.

Stephen Higgins, Joint Managing Director commented, “The JLT Lockinge Stakes features very prominently in Newbury’s flat racing calendar and we are delighted to welcome JLT who are sponsoring the race for the first time, the race also forms the fourth leg in the British Champions’ Series.  Taking these points we felt the Best of British theme would fit very well with this fixture, as the day offers a quintessential day out at one of Britain’s leading race fixtures and combined with the Beer Festival and themed activities we feel the event will offer something for everyone.”

Students deliver Best of British theme

The Best of British concept is the brainchild of a group of equine students from Oxford Brookes in association with Abingdon and Witney College;  Rebecca Callaghan, Zoe Davies, Jamie Taylor, Anna Munro-Faure and Maddison Sreeves.  The group’s idea was runner up in Student Equestrian Challenge initiative ran jointly by Newbury Racecourse and the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) last autumn. 

The students were initially briefed to  deliver a schedule of engaging and educational equestrian activities around the racecourse’s fixture on Saturday 26 March. The judging panel, consisting of Stephen Higgins, Joint Managing Director of Newbury Racecourse, racing personality Alice Plunkett and Anna Greenway (BEF), felt the Best of British theme was a strong idea best suited to a summer fixture, resulting in the students being invited to deliver their proposal around Newbury’s Lockinge raceday.

The Beer Festival will be situated on the Copper King Lawn in the Grandstand Enclosure of the racecourse and will also feature live music and a children’s entertainment area.  Tastings are from 11am to approx 6.30pm, operating on cash only basis with beer served in half-pint plastic glasses.

CAMRA members are entitled to a discount on Grandstand tickets, costing £10 per ticket reduced from £18. To take advantage of this offer CAMRA members should book in advance on 01635 40015 quoting their membership number.

All are welcome, tickets start from £18, with under 18’s going free, with Restaurants and Private Boxes from £65 per person.  Gates open at 11am with the first race at 1.25pm.  Students are entitled to 50% discount on Premier Tickets priced at £14*

For further information and booking visit newbury-racecourse.co.uk or call 01645 40015

*Must be booked in advance.  Student ID required.

Pictured: 2010 Lockinge Stakes heroes jockey Richard Hughes on board Paco Boy.  This year’s renewal featuring the Best of British Beer Festival is on Saturday 14 May at Newbury Racecourse.

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