Berwick Food and Beer Fest gets brewing for its 10th year

There will be 80 stalls to visit
There will be 80 stalls to visit

The 10th annual Berwick Food and Beer Festival takes place this weekend.

As well as serving up cool beers from artisan brewers, there will also be a chance to browse 80 stalls selling everything from lamb and kippers to spices and coffee.

Food lovers will enjoy demonstrations from chefs, producers and experts, while families will be entertained by a wide range of all-age activities which have been lined up.

Organised by Berwick Slow Food Group, the popular event at The Barracks in Berwick is a great opportunity to discover the flourishing food scene in the Scottish Borders and Northumberland.

Ruth McNeely, joint festival director, said: “It’s hard to believe this is our 10th year.

“The whole emphasis is to work directly with our local and regional producers and provide a platform on which they can introduce their products to locals and visitors during the festival weekend. “A number of our producers have attended each of the 10 years and the enthusiasm is infectious, as more and more producers join us each year.

“Our festival is a weekend for all the family with delicious food and drink on offer backed up with great local music.

“The food and beer festival is simply a lovely, relaxing, friendly way to spend a weekend, as well as being a celebration of the wonderful range and quality of fresh food and produce from the surrounding area.”

The festival kicks off on Friday, September 1, with a Meet the Brewers event.

The marquee opens at 6pm with live music from local singer Electric Penelope. It’s the first chance to sip and sample the wares of the festival’s ten artisan brewers – Hadrian Border Brewery, Hetton Law Brewery, Thistly Cross Ciders, Top Out Brewery, Credence Brewery, Born in the Borders, Tempest Crew Co, Whitley Bay Brewing, Bear Claw and Two by Two Brewing.

The Pier Red bar will be serving up wine, champagne and cocktails while the festival’s dedicated gin stall sells on-trend tipples.

On Saturday, September 2, the festival opens its gates to visitors at Berwick Barracks, with more than 80 stalls selling everything from honey to spices and coffee to shellfish.

Don’t miss the basket and pot-making demonstrations and the opportunity to chat to producers and experts.

Drop by the Borders Organic Gardeners’ stall for some tips on how to create your own organic garden.

Denise Walton of organic Peelham Farm has been coming to the festival since it began in 2008.

She said: “My memories over the past 10 years are full of friends enthusiastically flying the flag for slow food and the principles of good, clean and fair.  

“If I were to choose four words to express what it is about, they would be food, fun, colourful and local.

“These are the reasons we keep coming back every year.”

As well as her usual stall, Denise will also be doing a demonstration on how to cook according to the Slow Food mantra, while keeping to a budget.

Charlie Head, from Gasparro’s restaurant, will be whipping up Arrancini balls, while Graham Flannigan of Berwick Shellfish will be giving a masterclass in how to open and dress seafood.

Artisan miller Dave Harris-Jones of Heatherslaw Mill will be bringing his years of bread-making experience to the demonstration kitchen.

Dave will show how to make a basic dough using flour from local grain, giving visitors an opportunity to explore the art of bread-making.

Those with a sweet tooth won’t want to miss Bev Stephenson’s Cheats Guide to Tempering, an insight into how to work with chocolate.

The hugely popular kids’ cookery corner will be returning this year giving children the chance to make their own mug cakes and power balls.

Storytelling will take place throughout the weekend and little ones can also embark on a special Barracks treasure hunt.

Ruth added: “When we started in 2008 there were just a handful of interested enthusiasts, led by the founder Liz Houghton.

“Liz, who sadly died last October, was an inspiration – a very determined woman who worked tirelessly to make the festival a reality.”

This year’s festival will aptly be dedicated to Liz and a donation in her memory will be made to Berwick Cancer Cars following the festival.