YOU'D be mad to miss this beer festival.

That's the Three Wise Monkeys first ever Real Ale and Craft Beer Festival celebrating the very best independent breweries from around the country.

The event is being organised by two assistant managers at the Colchester High Street bar, Zach Maynard and James Kildea.

Zach says: "I came here about ten months ago and one of the first conversations I had with James was about beer. He is as passionate about craft beer as I am and that's when we started to come up with this idea for a special festival."

From working in bars in London, Zach had already seen how popular the craft beer market was and in particularly what in the business is known as a Tap Takeover.

"That's when you have several beers from one brewery," Zach explains. "When I arrived at Three Wise Monkeys it was one of the first things I suggested and we had our first in the town last month."

Now Zach and James are running the venue's first festival, which will take place from June 22 to 25 with 36 cask beers from a variety of breweries across the UK all taking up the far end wall of the bar.

Included in the selection will be three kegs of beer from Other Monkey Brewing, the venue's own in-house brewery, as well as six keg beers from some of the UK’s best new and exciting craft breweries.

Zach adds: "We've got a couple coming from Tiny Rebel in Newport, Wales, which has a massive reputation in the craft beer world. I went down there last year for a tasting and their beers are faultless.

"We've also got a lot of local beers. We're very lucky in this area to have such a wealth of good breweries and I wanted to highlight that in our festival. One of my favourites is Oyster Stout, which was first made in 1938, and that's made by Hammerton Brewery in Islington, although one of the directors lives in Tiptree, so that's kind of local as well."

With the added bonus of a special Can and bottle bar hosted by Paul Stephens of Two Brews, Crouch Street, Three Wise Monkeys Real Ale and Craft Beer Festival is free and runs from June 22 to 25.

For more information go to

Zach and James' Top Five Pick of the Festival

Tiny Rebel – Juicy

Based in Newport, Wales, Tiny Rebel have been at the forefront of the UK craft beer scene for the past five years, and are continuing to produce fantastic and exciting beers. Juicy is a sweet golden ale that is smooth on the palate and has hints of pineapple and mango on the nose.

Hammerton Brewery – Pentonville Oyster Stout

In 1938 the original Hammerton Brewery was famous for being the first in the world to use Oysters as part of the brewing process. The beer itself has a lovely sweet aroma of chocolate with some coffee notes. A great medium-bodied beer with a taste of sweet caramel and a lovely, smooth, velvety finish.

Marble – Tuckerlovsky

Based in Manchester, Marble have a solid reputation for producing great beer. The Tuckerlovsky is a Session IPA which has a citrusy, tropical hop bill includes Australian-grown Cascade which gives notes of lemon and pineapple, with a subtle sweetness and crisp finish.

Watsons Brewery – Imperial Black Otter

Keeping it very local with this next one. The Imperial Black Otter from this Colchester brewery is a Black IPA, which has the zesty and hoppy flavours of traditional IPA’s but with a complex, dark malt character which makes for a fantastic beer.

Harwich Town Brewery – Phoenix APA

The Phoenix APA is an American Pale Ale from another local brewer. This beer has a lingering malt sweetness, and is balanced with smooth bitterness throughout. Barley sugar notes and an unmistakable Cascade nose. Not to be missed over the festival weekend.