Enjoy a 360 virtual tour of Maltings Fest
Tuckers Maltings annual beer festival in Newton Abbot with one of the best selection of beers at any beer festival in the UK.
Updated 23rd April 2023
One of my favourite festivals, mainly because it really is all about the beer, the selection is crazy and even the hard-core drinkers would struggle to try one of each of the almost 300 available. They have around 200 cask ales, 80 keg beers and lager on a roving basis of about 15 on at a time, 10 ciders both still & carbonated, 10 gins, whiskey and rum. It’s also the cheapest beer festival around at only a fiver entry (Saturday), which includes a proper glass half pint tankard, not a plastic glass like most festivals. I always find it tastes better drinking from a glass than plastic. Though the only thing with the half pint glasses, you can’t over fill a half pint and get that added bonus of receiving that little bit extra in your glass when you only asked for a half. Don’t go thinking you have to go all in and fill your glass, then make do with what you got. Always ask for a taster to try a little bit first and don’t be afraid to try 3 or 4 before you make your mind up and settle on one. That way you wont be sat struggling to drink a disgusting beer or going outside to throw it away.
I do have a few favourite beers, St Austell Big Job and Devonshire 10’der, which you do have to be careful with as it’s really easy to drink, almost like a session beer, but at 10% you’ll be hammered very soon. Stonehenge’s Sign of Spring always goes down well and there is no mistaking what your drinking as it comes bright green! This one goes fast though, in 2023 they tapped a cask on Saturday night, it had gone in 30 minutes.
I have been on both Friday & Saturday’s and I would say Friday is probably the better day. For 2022 onward now it’s all outside on Osbourne Park there is no need for separate sessions so you wont be kicked out anymore. The entry fee covers all day long, you are given a wristband that will grant you re-entry if you choose to leave and want to come back later.
However it is split into two, everyone is kicked out come 5pm and if you want to re-enter you have to pay the more expensive £7 re entry fee, this is to help pay for the evening’s entertainment and set up as the building isn’t the biggest. They really ought to offer an all day entry fee for a tenner or something, to encourage those of us back after being kicked out. We usually just head on into town and don’t bother to return. For 2019 they have now added an all day Friday ticket for £10, hurrah. Like Saturdays from previous years you should be given a wristband that will grant you re-entry if you choose to leave.
Saturday they do tend to run out of many of the beers especially the winners from Thursdays competition, there is some entertainment with numerous bands playing to keep you entertained, usually the Rock choir, Morris dancers during the day and then the bands come the evening. Saturday is just £5 entry for all day with free re-entry with your wristbands until 10pm. For 2019 they have promised to hold back extra barrels of the winners for each day so if you’re in for the start you still get to try the best. Although 2023, this didn’t seem to happen, with only the popular Sign of Spring held back and tapped Saturday night.
Children get free entry and allowed until 8pm, but to be honest other than what’s on stage there isn’t anything to keep them occupied. I get the feeling they’ll be bored out of there minds or sat on there phones for the entire time.
Not many people realise that they don’t mind you taking in your own food or a picnic. Some had their entire table covered in food bringing with them a whole chicken, baguette, biscuits the works 😂. We usually take a few of our own snacks and a couple years ago my now ex girlfriend took a bottle of wine along, as she wasn’t keen on the ale.
The festival is run entirely under marquee located on the green outside the old Tuckers Maltings on Osbourne Park, Newton Abbot, Devon, UK.
- The festival runs over 4 days starting on the Thursday competition day. This is when all the beers fight for the best beer of the year awards and is also broken down into categories, so you have amber, gold, brown, dark and even speciality beers. The beers come from breweries all over the south west of England from Bristol, Channel Isles, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire.
- 2022 was the first time keg had ever been judged at the event as part of a huge shakeup of the awards.
- The festival has always been run on a voluntary basis by the brewers, with great help from CAMRA, and provided there are always enough volunteers the future looks good for the festival to continue for many years to come.
- Tuckers Maltings was one of only four malt houses in the country which still produced malt in the traditional manner, but sadly closed it’s doors in 2018. Thankfully though the Beer Festival is still going strong and from 2022 onward it will be known as Maltings Fest.
- Unfined beer is you guessed it, beer without finings. Finings clear the beer by giving the yeast something to form clumps around (flocculate), so it settles to the bottom of the cask faster. There’s no sugar coating it finings are fish bits, marvellous for clearing beer, but less enticing if you’re vegetarian. For many beers, cutting out finings makes them vegan friendly, making great beer accessible to more people.
- The most prevalent type of finings used in brewing is a product derived from fish known as Isinglass. A collagen derived from the swim bladders of fish, historically it was farmed from sturgeon. This was until in the late 18th century when Scottish inventor William Murdoch developed a cheaper way of producing isinglass using cod, or hake. Today’s commercially used isinglass is made from farmed tropical fish.
- You don’t actually consume isinglass when you drink a beer in which it’s been used as a fining, and this includes cask ale, as the product remains in the container. It is an animal product however, so beers that use it are not suitable for those with diets that avoid animal products.
- Isinglass is a process aid, which means that a producer doesn’t need to include it on a list of ingredients. This means it can be incredibly difficult to know if a beer or bottle of wine has used isinglass or not unless it explicitly states that it’s suitable for vegans.
- Children should not be in the bar area and they must not be anywhere on site after 8pm. They are allowed in for free before 8pm, must be accompanied by an adult at all times and get a wristband with a contact phone number to be written on. They must not approach the bar and either sit in the area away from the bar (by the stage) or in the grassed area surrounding the marquees.
- Dogs are allowed in on leads, a contact phone number must be on their collar. They should not be taken to the bar since they could be a trip hazard.
- Staff reserve the right to ask any who misbehave to leave along with those who accompany them.
- It’s all under a large all weather family marque.
- T-shirts are available to buy including ladies sizes.
- Tuckers Maltings was founded by Parnell Tucker and work began on its construction in January 1900 and it officially opened for business on Monday the 5th November 1900. Before sadly closing in 2018, It was one of only four malt houses in the country which still produced malt in the traditional manner, supplying over 30 breweries in the south west.
- Tucker’s Maltings was the venue for the very first regional beer festival and competition. There were 67 beers at the first festival back in 1993 and this increased year by year until there were more than 300. However it became clear that the more beers there were, the less space there was for customers so the number was limited to around 280.
The previous overall champions of the competition. I could only find info dating back to 2006, if anyone knows of any more past winners please comment below.
|Overall Champion of the Cask Beer Awards|
|2023||Eight Arch Brewing Co.||Square Logic
|2022||Cheddar Ales Ltd||Piney Sleight
|2021||Cancelled due to Covid-19||Cancelled due to Covid-19
|2020||Cancelled due to Covid-19||Cancelled due to Covid-19
|2019||Palmers Brewery||Tally Ho
|2018||Dorset Brewing Company||Jurassic Dark
|2016||St Austell Brewery
|2015||Plain Ales Brewery Ltd||Inncognito||4.8|
|2014||Quantock Brewery||Wills Neck||4.3|
|2013||Hunters Brewery||Royal Hunt||5.5|
|2009||RCH||East Street Cream||5.0|
|2008||Skinner’s Brewing Co Ltd||Cornish Knocker Ale||4.5|
|2007||St Austell Brewery||Tribute||4.2|
|Overall Champion of the Keg Beer Awards|
|2023||Yonder Brewing||Rasberry Goose
|2022||Quantock||We’re gonna need a bigger boat
With the festival now from 2022 all outside on Osbourne Park there is no need for the old split sessions, so now it’s one fee for all day.
There are 2 Friday sessions with separate ticket & wrist bands per session. The festival area will be vacated between sessions.
- Thursday 5pm-11pm, £5 per ticket.
Friday 11am-5pm, £5 per ticket., 6pm-11pm, £7 per ticket, All Day, £10 per ticket.(Pre 2019)
- Friday 11am-11pm £8 per ticket. Update for 2022
- Saturday 11am-10pm, £5 per ticket. (note earlier finish)
All tickets to be purchased on the door.
- £1 reduction for CAMRA members or own glass.
- Cash or card are now accepted.
Cash only, no cards.(Pre 2019)
- £2 per half pint token. (
£1.75 per half pint token 2019).
- £10 for 5 half pint tokens (
£6 for 10 half pint tokens 2019)
- Refundable for £1 each.
Update 2022 Now including 70 keg beers and lager with around 15 on at any one time. 10 ciders still & carbonated, gins, whiskey and rum. There are around 220 cask beers to choose from that have been brewed throughout the South West of the UK. The booklet your given also states which beers are gluten free, vegan or unfined.
- £2 for half pint token
- £10 for 5 half pint tokens. (Refundable for £1 each)
Entry includes half-pint glass tankard
- All the beers are colour coded into beer types.
- Tip: You can always head to the Tap House where they have even more ales, wines, ciders, gins, vodka, lagers and soft drinks available.
This last couple of years (2022 & 23) the food choice has been disappointing with just the one outlet for burgers, chips & hot dogs etc.
There are a few choices inside the festival and the pizza guy on the road outside the Taphouse, sadly the pizza guy is no longer there. You can easily just head into town as it’s not far to grab a bite and as long as you keep your wrist band on you can re-enter. You can even take in your own food and drink if you like, which I think is probably the best idea.
- Pork Rolls & Crackling
- Hot dogs
Handmade Chocolate (2018) Handmade Ice Cream (2019)
Tip: You can take in your own food and drink if you like.
There are usually a few bands playing on stage throughout the day. Although 2023 there was a gap of two hours in the afternoon where there was nothing on stage at all.
Getting around the festival is easy as it’s all on the level and under the marquee it’s all carpeted. There are lots of tables and chairs around, although if you get there late, they’ll all be taken, so you might want to bring your own chair. If it’s a nice sunny day there is more seating and tables outside on the grass.
I always come via the train as it’s only a 2 minute walk from the station. Going home though the last train is early around 9pm, so if we’re still enjoying ourselves we’ll switch and catch the bus home instead.
- Train: This is the way I usually come, the station is only a 2 minute walk around the corner. It cost me £3.30 for off-peak return with group save discount from Paignton. Though be aware that the train back to Paignton on Saturday night is early at around 9pm.
- Car: Parking is very limited, Osborne car park is right next to the festival, but this is 3 hours max during daytime hours. I would suggest parking around Brunel estate Collet Way, TQ12 4PH. This is free leaving with a short 10 minute walk.
- Bus: Depending on your direction, you’ll want to get off at the bus stop nearest the train station or Avenue Church, just a 2 minute walk from there. Both stops are on the No. 12 route.
- £1 reduction for CAMRA members or own glass.
- Cash and Card accepted.
- Always ask to try a little bit first and don’t be afraid to try 3 or 4 before you settle on one.
- No children should be in the bar area and that they must not be anywhere on site after 8pm.
- From 2019 Dogs will be allowed in on leads, a contact phone number must be on their collar. They should not be taken to the bar since they could be a trip hazard.
- Take a chair with you as there are limiting seats available.
- Many people take their own food and enjoy picnic on a table or the grass.
- If you’re not keen on the beer, you can go into the Tap House where you can buy ciders, gin, wine, lager and soft drinks etc.
- If you’re not keen on the food, then you can head into town for a pub lunch or take away etc. As long as you have your wristband you can get back in.
- If traveling by train be aware that the train back to Paignton on Saturday night is early at around 9pm.
- For more info go to facebook, twitter or maltingsfest.co.uk.
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Originally posted By Ash – 22 Apr 2018 @ 13:00
Have you been to Maltings Fest? What was your favourite beer? Would would you change? Share you thoughts?
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