Beer we go for a weekend of celebrating top food and drink

Ian and Alison Blaylock at Doncaster Brewery

Ian and Alison Blaylock at Doncaster Brewery

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Doncaster will be raising a glass to fine food and drink - as both beer and food festivals hit the town.

Doncaster will be raising a glass to fine food and drink - as both beer and food festivals hit the town.

Doncaster Beer Festival at Doncaster college. Organiser Lee Barrass

Doncaster Beer Festival at Doncaster college. Organiser Lee Barrass

Drinkers will sample cask ales from across Britain at the Doncaster Beer Festival, which gets underway today, Thursday, with the food and drink festival running from Friday until Sunday.

There will be three beer-filled days at Unity House on Carr Lane, starting from 5pm.

Today’s festivities run until 11pm, before beer lovers return tomorrow from 11am to 11pm. It will be the same hours again on Saturday.

Beers from as far as Worcestershire and Devon have been ordered for the 26th instalment of the festival.

Bob Kiddle of Doncaster CAMRA.

Bob Kiddle of Doncaster CAMRA.

The Campaign for Real Ale Doncaster branch chairman Bob Kiddle said beers were selected to give a cross-section of styles, approaches and strengths.

Doncaster brewers Ian and Alison Blaylock will supply some of the locally-produced beer to the festival.

The Blaylocks own and run the Doncaster Brewery and Tap in the town centre.

Mr Blaylock said the festival allowed for variety to be introduced to punters, giving them a chance to expand their drinking horizons.

“It gives people to chance to try lot of different beers, some of which they would not normally try,” he said.

The Blaylocks were CAMRA members for about 20 years before jumping into the brewing business.

“We have attended Doncaster CAMRA festivals at various locations - the racecourse, the Dome and the Hub - so we have been involved in the drinking side of the festivals for quite a while,” Mr Blaylock said.

The Doncaster festival, Mr Blaylock said, plays an important role in the craft brewing movement. “Beer festivals are a big part in raising the profile and interest in Real Ale and in the Campaign for Real Ale,” Mr Blaylock said.

They took the plunge five years ago. Mr Blaylock had always dreamed of running his own brewery, so he decided on a career change. He downed his motor mechanic tools to start producing beer.

He openedthe Doncaster Brewery and Tap. It took Mr Blaylock eight months to build the brewery.

His first two brews were launched by Colin Joy, the Doncaster tourism manager at the time. After two years, Mr Blaylock moved the business to Young Street in the town centre.

There are real ales, traditional ciders and a range of European bottled beers on offer.

There are three secrets to brewing the perfect beer.

“High-quality ingredients, patience and time,” he said.

Mr Blaylock isn’t afraid to experiment. Among the beers he makes is a coffee stout. “I am always looking to try something different and quite often I get requests from customers to try to make a new beer with their favourite ingredient, butterscotch, marshmallows, et cetera,” he said.

The emergence of the craft brewing movement has inspired people to have a go at making beer at home.

“There are more these days than when I was younger,” Mr Blaylock said.

A Doncaster group is dedicated to the hobby.The home brew group meets on the first Tuesday of every month at the Cask Corner in Cleveland Street.

The nearest bus stop to the beer festival is on Trafford Way.

Top chefs and entertainers line up for the food festival

Food, entertainment and activities are planned for the Delicious Doncaster Food and Drink Festival.

Hot street food and artisan products, together with a wide range of other attractions, will be on show in the Market Square, along St Sepulchre Gate, Baxter Gate and the High Street.

The Doncaster Food and Drink Festival will run from 10am to 6pm on Friday and Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sunday.

Highlights include:

Friday May 12: A demonstration kitchen, hosted by Doncaster College students, in the Market Square will showcase recipes created by the students based around the theme of ‘Fish Friday’.Students will also be running a ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’ competition.

A Great Doncaster Bake Off competition will allow the public to bring creations to the special marquee in the Market Square between 11am and 12 noon on the day. All the cakes baked will be judged by Doncaster Council School Meals Service at around 12.30pm The winning baker will win the Great Doncaster Bake Off Trophy and £30 worth of Doncaster Market vouchers.

Saturday May 13: There will be entertainment through the Doncaster Folk Festival. The ‘Day of Dance’ featuring a number of Morris dancing groups across different town centre venues will be a highlight of the Doncaster Folk Festival.

Sunday May 14: Award winning chef Jean-Christophe Novelli will be showcasing his skills in Market Square. There will be workshops and original entertainment.