Watford Beer Festival

Watford & District

27th Watford Beer Festival

Thursday 20th to Saturday 22nd July 2023

Halsey Hall, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD18 0JE

The 27th Watford Beer Festival took place from Thursday 20th to Saturday 22nd July 2023 at Halsey Masonic Hall in Watford. 40 real ales were available over the three days, as well as cider and perry, with beers from local breweries Bowtie Brewers of Watford, Oxhey Village Brewery and Paradigm Brewery of Sarratt.

Bowtie Brewers is a nanobrewery producing cask ale and bottles from a garden shed in Watford. Brewing can be sporadic, but the beer festival was able to secure a cask of Coronation Ale, based on a Victorian mild recipe and originally brewed for the coronation of King Charles III.

Oxhey Village Brewery, or OVB for short, is another small brewery occasionally producing cask and keg beers for pubs in the area. The Watford Beer Festival had two of their cask ales, EPA and Summer, but you can also find their beer at the Oxhey Village Brewfest, which is traditionally hosted by the Rifle Volunteer and Villiers Arms pubs in April. Keep checking the Brewfest website for updates.

In recent years Paradigm Brewery has achieved phenomenal success at the beer festival with their gorgeous strong Watford Winter Warmer ale. Their beers have become a familiar sight on handpumps in pubs in the area, but sadly the brewery ceased trading at around the same time as the beer festival was taking place. The cask of Watford Winter Warmer we had at the festival was most likely the last one in existence, but it went out on a high by winning Beer of the Festival for the sixth time. The branch wishes Rob Atkinson and Neil Hodges of Paradigm all the best in their future endeavours.

One local brewery missing from the line-up at this year’s festival was Pope’s Yard Brewery, who had just moved into their new premises in North Watford, marking a welcome return to the branch area after they spent several years brewing at Frogmore Paper Mill in Apsley. Pope’s Yard was able to produce a cask beer called Ready for Love for Watford Pride in collaboration with Creative Juices Brewing Company in Maple Cross, but at the time of writing brewing is still on hold at their new site.

We really hope to see Bowtie, OVB and Pope’s Yard ales back on the stillage at the 28th Watford Beer Festival, which will be taking place from Thursday 22nd to Saturday 24th August 2024. Put those dates in your diary now. In the meantime, here’s the list of the top ten beers at the 27th Watford Beer Festival, as voted for by our customers.

  1. Paradigm - Watford Winter Warmer
  2. Five Points - Railway Porter
  3. Bowtie - Coronation Ale
  4. Paradigm - Cassiobury Sunshine
  5. Paradigm - Hitchhiker's Guide
  6. OVB - Summer
  7. Leighton Buzzard - Train Robber
  8. Vale - Orca
  9. New River - Blind Poet/Harvey's - Sussex Best

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