Hitchin Beer and Cider Festival set to be the biggest and best yet!

PUBLISHED: 13:23 06 June 2018 | UPDATED: 14:49 06 June 2018

Jon Kirby and Danny Jimenez

Jon Kirby and Danny Jimenez

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The wonderful Hitchin Rugby Club is again the host for the eagerly-awaited Hitchin Beer and Cider Festival – which promises to be the biggest and best yet!

Hitchin Beer Festival organiser Jon Kirby (third from left) with other volunteers at the Hitchin Beer Festival. Picture: Danny LooHitchin Beer Festival organiser Jon Kirby (third from left) with other volunteers at the Hitchin Beer Festival. Picture: Danny Loo

The bar has been set extremely high with previous years’ efforts but the 2018 event on Old Hale Way from Thursday to Saturday, is set to smash attendance records and beers supped.

The community-minded Hedgehogs have provided a large number of the 120 volunteers required to ensure the popular festival runs smoothly, with many from North Herts Camra and the Hitchin Round Table also freely giving up their time.

More than 10,000 pints were sunk by thirsty punters a year ago at the rugby club but hard-working organiser Jon Kirky is expecting that record to be broken over the coming days.

Hitchin Beer Festival Hitchin Beer Festival

Good-natured Jon said: “I have to thank everyone at Hitchin Rugby Club for helping us stage the festival. It’s been great to see the community rally round.

“We’re putting the finishing touches to the site, with our marquee being bigger than ever allowing more space than ever for visitors to enjoy a pint of their favourite ale, cider or perry.

“I might be a terrible rugby player but I’m delighted everyone at the Hedgehogs has shown us such support – along with North Herts Camra and the round table.”

The Hitchin Beer Festival. Picture: Danny LooThe Hitchin Beer Festival. Picture: Danny Loo

Jon and his team spend ten months a year organising the ever-growing festival and last year’s attendance record of nearly 3,500 visitors over the three days is set to be beaten – but with more space than ever with an ever larger marquee, the festival’s unique flavour will not change.

With a host of mouth-watering food options from award-winning stalls including Matt Bean’s Cantina Carnitas and more than 150 beers, ciders and perry’s on offer – along with a favourable weather forecast – this year’s edition promises to be a cracker.

Modest Jon said: “We’re a team here and it’s far bigger than one person. I’m so proud of everyone involved and would also like to thank all our sponsors too.

Regulars at the Half Moon in Hitchin celebrate their latest Camra award at the Hitchin Beer Festival, June 2016Regulars at the Half Moon in Hitchin celebrate their latest Camra award at the Hitchin Beer Festival, June 2016

“We look forward to welcoming everyone over the coming days. It’s an honour putting this event on,” adding: “It’s a proper buzz seeing everyone enjoying themselves.

“Hitchin is a chilled out town and our festival reflects the town. There’s no fuss, there’s no ‘aggro’. That’s why so many people enjoy it.”

The event attracts visitors from near and far.

CAMRA Festival organiser Jonathan Kirby, Hitchin RFC Vice Chairman Peter Tasko, Comet Chief Sub-Editor Steve Langbridge and Hitchin Roundtable Chairman Ross BlackCAMRA Festival organiser Jonathan Kirby, Hitchin RFC Vice Chairman Peter Tasko, Comet Chief Sub-Editor Steve Langbridge and Hitchin Roundtable Chairman Ross Black

Daniel Jimenez told the Comet: “I live in Staines but the Hitchin Beer and Cider Festival is something I really look forward to.

“This year I’m travelling up with other real ale enthusiasts including one from Wales and another from Petersfield in Hampshire for my third visit.

“I’m really looking forward to sampling the excellent ales on offer.”

Charlie Weeks, Mark 'Dexter' Waples, Jamie Street, Andy Thorpe, Layth Yousif Charlie Weeks, Mark 'Dexter' Waples, Jamie Street, Andy Thorpe, Layth Yousif

Opens 5pm to 11pm on Thursday and 12 noon to 11pm on Friday and Saturday at Hitchin Rugby Club, Hitchin with town centre manager Tom Hardy set to cut the ribbon and officially open the event.

For more information visit www.hitchinbeerfestival.org.uk and follow them on Twitter @HitchinBeerFest.

For more on Hitchin Rugby Club follow @HitchinRugby and @hitchinladies.

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