23rd February 2024

Kirkstall Brewery has announced the return of THE GREAT EXHIBITION OF PRIZE ALES on the early May Bank Holiday Weekend. Kirkstall’s heritage-themed beer festival sees breweries from across the country compete to win medals in ten categories of historic beer styles.

After last year’s successful one-day event, the festival will now run for three days over the 3rd, 4th and 5th of May at Kirkstall Brewery itself. Each ticket grants entry to that session, as well as a unique, commemorative glass, programme and their first beer token. Early bird pricing of £15 is available on tickets until 1st March.

Chris Hall, Kirkstall’s Brand Manager and organiser of the festival, said: “Last year we established a new kind of beer festival that joined breweries large and small, old and new, to celebrate the innovations in brewing that have occurred throughout our history. Over thirty-five different breweries poured beers inspired by the 20th century, 19th century and even older. One brewer even recreated a Bronze Age Ale!”

Already confirmed to be attending are local breweries Northern Monk, North and overall champion medal winners Amity Brew Co. Breweries from further afield, such as London’s The Five Points, Scotland’s Newbarns Brewery and Reading’s Siren Craft Brew have also confirmed they will be exhibiting.

The festival encourages attending breweries to dig deep into their local history and recreate beers that, once upon a time, would have been as cutting-edge as modern-day hazy IPAs. Everything from Pale Ales, Lagers, Porters, Milds and Bitters to barrel aged Stock Ales and Imperial Stouts will be pouring across four different festival sessions.

“This year we wanted to go bigger, and even better,” said Hall. “We’ll be pouring an even wider variety of beers so that there really is something for everyone to enjoy, and we’re inviting local spirits and soft drinks brands to be part of the fun, along with great food and live music.”

Food traders include local favourite Manjit’s Kitchen, plus Mr D’s Magnificent Pie Machine and Kirkstall’s very own fish and chip shop pop-up: ‘The Aire Fryer’, as well as fresh pizza from its Taproom & Kitchen.

Live music will also be part of the line-up, with acts still be announced. Last year, performers included blues, swing and jazz musicians who added to the historic atmosphere of the event.

Hall added: “There will be a few more surprises in store this year, and we’re encouraging ticketholders to join us in the spirit of the occasion and dress in period costume, if they fancy it! We really enjoyed hosting such a lovely crowd last year and this time we want to make the experience even more enjoyable.”

Tickets for all sessions of The Great Exhibition of Prize Ales are available now, with early bird pricing ending on 1st March.

Ticket link:








About The Great Exhibition of Prize Ales

Established in 2023, The Great Exhibition of Prize Ales was devised by Kirkstall Brewery to acknowledge and celebrate the growing reappreciation of beer inspired by history. Inspired by the Kirkstall Brewery of 1833-1983, Kirkstall has resurrected a number of 19th and 20th century recipes from brewing archives of its predecessor, in its Revival Series of Prize Ales.

The first edition of the festival took place at Kirkstall Brewery in May 2023, and exhibited over 85 different beers from over 35 different breweries from across the country.

Medals were awarded to beers judged to be the best in each category, with judging of the beers undertaken by an expert independent panel. An overall champion beer medal was then awarded after another round of judging, which went to Amity Brew Co’s Spinning Mill Project 000 Imperial Stout.

The following details have been confirmed for The Great Exhibition of Prize Ales 2024:


Allsopp’s / Amity Brew Co / Anspach & Hobday / Black Lodge / Braybrooke Beer Co / Brew York / Fell Brewery / The Five Points Brewing Company / Horsforth Brewery / The Kernel / Kirkstall Brewery / Leeds Brewery / Little Earth Project / Marble Beers / Newbarns / North / Northern Monk / Redwillow / Siren Craft Brew / Thornbridge / Vocation / Wishbone Brewery / Wylam / Zapato … and more to be announced!


Each ticket gets you entry to the festival for the designated session, as well as a commemorative glass, festival programme and a beer token to get you started!

Tokens for sale on the day are priced at £2.50, and can be exchanged for a 1/2 pint of beer under 7% ABV, or a 1/3 pint of beer 7% and above.

Tickets have been priced to help cover the costs of running the festival, including staffing, equipment, entertainment, facilities, glassware, programmes, decorations, security and ensuring that all beer is stored and served in immaculate condition!

Food and other drinks from:

The Aire Fryer

Manjit’s Kitchen

Mr D’s Magnificent Pie Machine

Kirkstall Taproom & Kitchen

York Gin

More TBA – most dietary requirements will be accommodated! Alternatives to beer will also be available.

Live Music:

TBA – last year we had music from Professor Longlegs, The Meanwood Valley Stompers and Louis Louis Louis!

About Kirkstall Brewery

Kirkstall Brewery continues a legacy of brewing left by the Cistercian monks of Kirkstall Abbey and the Kirkstall Brewery Company of 1833-1983. Kirkstall’s own beginnings as Vertical Drinks, importing the likes of Sierra Nevada, Odell and Stone since 2003, allowed them to learn from the masters before starting their own brewery in 2011.

Alongside its most famous beers, such as Virtuous Session IPA and Three Swords Extra Pale, Kirkstall also brews a series of Prize Ales exploring the brewery’s rich history, including some recipes that are over 130 years old.

Including the Taproom & Kitchen at the brewery itself, Kirkstall currently has seven award-winning pubs across Leeds and West Yorkshire, including the historic Kirkstall Bridge Inn, the Grade II-listed Cardigan Arms and The Three Swords in Horsforth.

In December 2022, Kirkstall acquired the Leeds Brewery brand. In January 2024, Kirkstall announced a new joint venture to take on the The Victoria Hotel with the team behind Whitelock’s Ale House. Later that month, owner and founder Steve Holt acquired North, along with its Springwell, Leeds and Manchester Taprooms.