Festival Chairman

I been a member of the SPBW for three years and am the chairman of the North East branch of SPBW. I'm also on the National Executive as Social Media Officer. It was a great honour to be asked to organise the first ever National Beer from the Wood Festival, a daunting task taking something like this on from scratch! I've had great help so far especially from Neil Midgely at the Junction, Castleford and my colleagues on this page who work as hard as I do to bring you this unique festival! The SPBW as a whole have been very supportive too, this is certainly a team effort! I have tried to source a extensive and varied range of beers as possible especially showcasing the existing breweries who have used wooden casks for some time our thanks go to them for continually supporting beer from the wood and, to those breweries who are starting to come on board. A big thank you to you all as without your foresight this very festival may not of existed. A very special thanks must also go to Alastair Simms and his staff at Whiterose cooperage for all the wonderful casks they have made.

I hope you can attend this unique festival and share our enjoyment.


Webmaster/Forum Admin

It took me years to find out the existence of the local CAMRA branch, and only because I happened to meet with the current Chairman. Still, he got me on to the Committee to set up their first Newsletter. A year later I was Chairman and stayed there for seven years, organising the first three Belfast Beer Festivals. At that time I set up and chaired the local SPBW branch. Sadly, it was discontinued when I stepped down.

Well over a decade ago now a friend in Leeds persuaded me to start the branch again. I argued that I did not have time for recruitment, but I was easily swayed. I complained to the NEC about the state of their website and promptly got the job to organise a new one. Along with that came the job of Admin for the Forum.

I was more than happy to volunteer to help organise the SPBW's first National Beers From The Wood Festival and I have worked with local breweries to help them get started with beers served from wooden casks - the first time they have done so - and have pushed for a Northern Ireland selection of beers.

I hope you enjoy the Festival and the great range of beers.

Festival Co-ordinator

Over the past six years I have been in the fortunate position to have 'The Junction' at Castleford as my local. I therefore have direct experience of the impact that wooden barrels can have on the way beer tastes. That is providing of course it is well looked after and served. I therefore have a strong commitment to making sure that places like the Junction are supported and sustained and that there are more brewers putting their beer into wooden barrels and more places where it can be drunk. The first Woodfest has a key role in further promoting beers from the wood.

Festival Treasurer

An active member of SPBW West Riding branch as well as CAMRA. An early customer of The Junction Catleford means the beers from the wood popularity has been at the forefront of my real ale drinking. I have professional and personal involvement in clubs and societies, along with organising events over, many years.

Festival Bar Manager

I am the Director General of the North Irish Sea branch of SPBW. Our moto is "relax and imbibe" and our main rule is "strictly no pomposity". I have worked at Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) beer festivals for several years after gaining my bar manager certificate. To help with quality control I obtained beer judging certificates from CAMRA and The Beer Academy. This lead to being invited to judge beers at Reading BF, Liverpool BF and CAMRA's National Winter Ales festival.

I am nearly as happy looking after the beer as I am drinking it. At Manchester Beer and Cider Festival you will find me both sides of the stillage, as a deputy bar manager specialising in technical cooling. Followed by Reading BF which has over 550 beers, that's a lot of tapping and venting practise. At the Great British Beer Festival I am part of the Technical Cooling and Dispense Team, fairly self-explanatory, except it also entails logistics from counting spiles to driving a forklift. If that is not multi-tasking enough at my local festival on the Isle of Man I am the technical bar manager and deputy festival organiser.

Despite the above there is always more to learn, so I am delighted to be involved in the first SPBW Beer From The Wood Festival and I look forward to serving you a beer.