About the festival

About the festival

The Cambridge Beer Festival was first held in 1974 and is the branch’s largest and its main Beer festival. During its long run, the festival has had several homes but since 2001 has been held on Jesus Green in late May. It is the United Kingdom’s longest running CAMRA Beer festival and currently is one of the largest regional beer festivals in the UK. The festival features a wide range of local and national beers of all styles, as well as cider, perry, mead, wine and bottled & draft beers from around the world, with the now famous CAMRA cheese counter, where a very wide range of fine cheeses, together with locally produced bread, pork pies, ham and other savoury items are available. Over the years, the Cambridge Beer Festival has become an international event, with visitors from across Europe, China, Canada, USA and regular attendees from Mexico.

The theme

The 44th Cambridge Beer Festival is celebrating the 350th anniversary of the first publication of Paradise Lost, the epic poem in blank verse by the 17th-century English poet John Milton (1608–1674).

The poem was first published in 1667 and consisted of ten books with over ten thousand lines of verse. There was a second edition published in 1674, which was arranged into twelve books with minor revisions throughout and a note on the versification.

Paradise Lost is considered by critics to be Milton’s major work, which helped solidify Milton’s reputation as one of the greatest English poets of his time.

The poem concerns the Biblical story of the Fall of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Milton stated in Book I, that his purpose was to “justify the ways of God to men“.

John Milton was a student at Christ’s College, here in Cambridge. A first edition of Paradise Lost from 1667 and a first illustrated edition from 1688 are both in the library at St John’s College.

In keeping with the theme Caskman has a split personality, with both his devilish and angelic personas making an appearance ….

Festival Poster

We would like it very much if you could display the festival poster. If you’re in the Cambridge area we can get printed posters to you – please get in touch. You can also download a PDF of the festival poster.