• Alex @ HPT

The 5 Best Universities for Beer Drinkers

So you’ve overcome the stress of results day and conquered your A-levels to secure a place at University. It’s time to pack your bags, wave goodbye to your family home and set off for the best three years of your life. Friends, adventure, and of course, drinking awaits you at campus, so here’s the 5 best Universities for beer lovers. Hopefully yours is on the list, but if not, sign yourself up to their real ale society to embark on your next beery adventure with fellow enthusiasts!

Warwick University

Warwick is a town steeped in medieval history, and is home to the architectural gem Warwick Castle; one of the most dramatic and complete medieval castles in the country. Alongside of this, Warwick University Real Ale Society hosts the biggest student run ale festival in the country, now in its 39th year. 2018 saw the event boast over 120 cask ales, 50 ciders, fruit wines and meads, an international beer bar, a keg bar, hog roast, and live entertainment over three phenomenal nights. It’s hosted in February to help students with second term blues, but the society holds socials all year round. Every fortnight the group meet and visit the pubs of varying areas around Coventry, Leamington, and Kenilworth, and if that isn’t enough, then their special socials promise a fun visit to breweries and beer festivals.

Newcastle University

Newcastle is home to Europe’s first student run microbrewery, Stu Brew. Launched in August 2013, it became one of only 25 environmental and sustainability initiatives in the UK to be awarded funding from the National Union of Students “Student Green Fund”. This element of quality is only heightened by the involvement of more than 500 students that volunteer to develop recipes and brew and cask beers through a pure love for the craft. Sustainability is at the heart of this establishment, and Dr Chris O’Malley, lecturer in Chemical Engineering who leads the research arm of the Stu Brew initiative, has said that

“Stu Brew is about more than just making beer. We are also conducting our own research into ways to make the brewing process more sustainable”

And so you’ll find that hops are grown on student allotments, the brewing process uses a hot water recovery system to make the process more energy efficient, and spent malt is sent to a local farmer for use as animal feed and hop residue gets composted on the allotments.

Sheffield Hallam

Back in 2016, a report saw Sheffield crowned as the “real ale capital of the world”, and it’s no wonder when the first thing you see when you step off the train on platform 1b is the Sheffield Tap (which also features on our Sheffield Historic Pub Trail). At the time of the report, this significant brewing city is home to 23 breweries (one brewery per 24,000 residents) with almost five times more breweries per capita than greater London. However, these beery achievements were already known amongst the locals in Sheffield, and has actually been a hidden gem for years.

Almost 9 out of 10 of the city’s brewers could be described as “microbreweries”, and the quality beer they produce is loved by locals too much… so much so that they are hesitant to let a lot of it out! When it comes to University life, Sheffield Hallam’s real ale society was founded in 2016 and is CAMRA affiliated. They visit a variety of different pubs that include visits to different towns and cities to sample the ale they have on offer, brewery tours, meet the brewer evenings, and going on the famous Real Ale trails. And if you’re student loan is quickly disappearing, being a member of the real ale society grants you with discount at local breweries, pubs, and beer shops.

University of East Anglia

As Britain’s original beer city, Norwich hosts an annual “city of ale” 10 day festival to give a boost to the city’s pubs and local breweries. Launched in 2011, this city wide celebration promises an action packed adventure across 40 of their welcoming pubs, heritage ale trails that navigate you through the historic parts of Norwich (they like to call it beer-geography!), and the chance to meet top beer writers and brewers as they take you through the styles, aromas and tastes of the region’s best beers. Norwich used to boast a pub for every day of the year, and the University of East Anglia’s real ale society enables students to experience Norwich's finest pubs, bars, clubs, and taverns. This club stands out thanks to their exploration of beautiful, unknown corners of the city to really get a taste for real ales and quirky craft beers.

University of Salford

As the UK’s music capital, Manchester has long been recognised for its rich music heritage. Music isn’t the only thing this northern city has to offer though, as its beer scene is simply unmissable. The Independent Manchester Beer Convention (or Indy Man Beer Con as its dedicated fans call it) is the annual autumnal celebration of beer sets Manchester apart as one of the greatest beer cities in the UK. Once crumbling railway arches now stand as microbreweries across Manchester and Salford thanks to the craft beer boom, and the University of Salford retains this love of beer. Just a stone’s throw away from Manchester city centre, Salford is home to plenty of real ale destinations, including the New Oxford and the Kings Arms. The latter has actually been used for the filming of the tv series “Fresh Meat” which is an extremely funny depiction of University life starring Jack Whitehall and Joe Thomas.



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