Ed Barnes, the man behind East Anglian craft beer empire, Hopsters, has just announced the details of two brew-based events, saying he’s “excited about what’s to come in 2023.” 

“Times have been tough,” he admits of the lockdown era, “but I see us as being like a little tugboat, chugging along. We’re the Bubba Gump of business. Where bigger businesses can’t adapt, we’re flexible enough to do what we like. And this year it means events, events, events.” 

These kick off on February 23 with a beer and cheese pairing evening (£25pp). A member of the judging panel for the International Cheese Awards will be joining the team at the Ipswich shop on St Nicholas Street, talking through six very different types of cheese, while Hopsters provides the bevvies to match. 

Next up, on March 31 and April, 1 is the Beach Street Beer Festival (£5pp) in Felixstowe, where a new all-weather cover has gone up, enabling events to be held throughout the year. 

“Last year we had 800 people come along. We sold out,” says Ed. “As usual we’ll have a fantastic line-up up of breweries. Local ones we love to have are Burnt Mill and The Little Earth Project, who are fantastic. But on top of those we have really big hitters. Beak are just up there and very well known for being one of the top IPA breweries in the UK. We’re so pleased to have them on board. We have Time & Tide from Kent, Radio City from Chelmsford, and we’re going to have a Verdant bar as well. I can’t tell you how excited I am to have them repped at the festival – it's huge!” 

Over the two-day 12 guest breweries will be in attendance, with more than 100 beers to choose from. A spirits bar is also being set up, and festival-goers can take their pick food-wise from the many options at Beach Street, including Mexican, pizza and Vietnamese. 

Live DJs will keep the mood high. And Ed’s planned loads of interactive games too, from beer pong to cornholing (a bit like welly wanging). The Ipswich Cardinals American football team is even bringing across their training gear for fun. 

Find tickets for both events online at myhopsters.com