Real Food and Beer Festival

Real Food and Beer Festival

Greene King’s head brewer was treated to a wild venison feast to promote the very first Real Food and Beer Festival, being held in May 2010 in Bury St Edmunds

Brewer John Bexon met with Mark Burrage from Bluebell Woods Wild Venison, based in Seething, and tasted some venison cooked in one of Greene King’s premium ales, Suffolk Springer.

“Our wild venison is a natural, healthy meat that is great for you and your heart,” said Mark, a professional deer manager, “Venison was the meat of choice in medieval times, and is truly a banquet fit for a king.

“Beer was a part of the staple diet of Britons for centuries”, says John, “and it has only been in recent decades that it’s been knocked off the dining table by wine. But actually real ale is brewed with wholesome local ingredients and is much better suited to most of our English dishes than French wine.”

Locally-culled Muntjac from Attleborough and Roe from Diss were fried off in Suffolk Springer by Mark, who is attending the Real Food and Beer Festival at Greene King on the 15th and 16th May.

Mark produces the venison via the Burrage & Associates deer management service,, and will be doing butchery demonstrations, as well as a venison spit roast at the exciting event. “People are more and more interested in where their food comes from. We offer a variety of different cuts of meat so that there is something for everyone’s style and cooking taste.”

“The secret to cooking venison is a really hot pan,” explained Mark, “and to let the meat go for only a minute or so. No oil, no butter, just pan-fry it in the beer and caramelise it off.”

John Bexon thought the venison tasted great: “Suffolk Springer is a blend of two dark ales, including 5X, an ale that has matured in oak tuns for two years, which brings out gloriously rich flavours of fruitcake and caramel. The roasted malts from the beer came through really well, and complemented the lean venison perfectly.”

Greene King is hosting the very first Real Food and Beer Festival in brewery gardens, Bury St Edmunds, on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th May. The event is part of the 25th Bury Festival, and has forty producers of the best food and drink in East Anglia attending.

Other producers include Apsalls, The English Whisky Company, Suffolk Food Hall, Kelly’s Turkeys, The Cake Shop, Paddy & Scotts and Powter’s Newmarket Sausages.