What is SRAF?
The Scottish Real Ale Festival is Scotland's premier beer festival where you get the opportunity to try a large range of real ales sourced solely from the best breweries in Scotland. We started with over 170 beers on the stillage this year. We also feature a range of traditional cider and perry from small producers based in Scotland, England and Wales. For the first time, this includes fruit ciders this year.
Like all CAMRA festivals, SRAF is organized and run entirely by volunteers brought together by an interest in real ale and cider.
What to expect?
When you arrive at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange, you'll pay your entry fee (£6 or £4 for CAMRA members) and will be given a souvenir pint or half-pint glass with the SRAF logo. The glass is yours to keep, so remember to look after it and take it to the bar when you want a drink. This year's glass also entitles you to free entry to any subsequent session of the festival. Each glass has lines for third, half and pint measures (as appropriate). So you can drink what you like in the quantity you choose, whether you want to stick to a few beers you like or try a little of a wide range. SRAF operates a cash bar, with prices displayed on the cask and by the handpumps.
You'll also receive a programme which details the beers, ciders and perries we'll have available. This also provides some information about CAMRA in Scotland. Please note that while every effort is made to ensure the information is correct at the time of going to print, it is possible that some products may be unavailable.
The festival is strictly for 18 year olds and above. Unfortunately, children are not allowed in the venue. No dogs, with the exception of assistance dogs.
What is Real Ale?
All of the beers served at SRAF are "real ale", sometimes also known as "cask ale". This means they still contain live yeast and undergo "secondary fermentation" in the casks they're poured from. You'll see the familiar handpumps which draw beer from the casks to the bar, but there'll also be beer served "on gravity" where a tap is driven straight into the cask. Real Ale is a living product, so it's never entirely predictable - and that's definitely a good thing!
Top tips for a great festival
1. Come early. You will get the best selection of beers on Thursday afternoon.
2. Check out the website in advance, there will be details of the beer list online, so you can plan what you would like to try. You can also follow us on Twitter or Facebook to get more details in advance.
3. We will be judging and announcing the CAMRA Champion Beer of Scotland during the festival. Look out for the results if you would like to try some of the winners. <-- There is also a competition to win a T-Shirt, sponsored by Belhaven Brewery. -->
4. The volunteers are real ale or cider enthusiasts. So try asking for their recommendations. You are unlikely to be disappointed.
5. Pace yourself. Drink thirds or halves so you can try more different beers. Remember that you can come back to later sessions for free with this year’s glass, so there is no need to try everything in one session!
6. Drink plenty of water, which is freely available. You are also welcome to bring in soft drinks (no alcohol) from outside the venue.
7. Pick up a memento of your visit from our products stall. We will have a wide selection of CAMRA products, t-shirts, and also a great guide to our local pubs – the perfect way to seek out some new pubs you haven’t tried before.
8. Bring your friends, even if they don’t normally drink real ale or cider. We think that most people will enjoy the atmosphere and find something new that they really love.