Friends, cheer and fine drinking at the Festival of Winter Ales

Here at DOCA, we’re keen to connect with you all year round. If the winter months have been dragging and you’ve been wondering when the next event is going to roll around, here it is! It’s nearly time for the Festival of Winter Ales at the Corn Exchange on 28th/29th February.

There’s a strong community of craft ale and cider drinkers in Devizes and people come from all over the county and beyond to attend this special event. We work with Stealth Brew Co who provide many of the ales on offer as well as carefully curating guest ales and ciders for your drinking pleasure.

What happens at FOWA?

The first thing you need to do is pick your session time. We offer three different slots. Kick off the weekend on Friday evening (4pm-11pm), cruise through Saturday afternoon (11am-5pm) or go all out on Saturday evening (5.30-11pm). Tickets may still be available on the door or, to be sure of entry, see below for information on buying in advance.

Your ticket gets you into the event and gives you two half-pint tokens to get you started. You can purchase more of these as you go along. This year, you’ll be able to choose from a range of 29 ales and 11 ciders. The folk at the taps will be on hand to make recommendations if you feel a bit spoilt for choice.

Once you’re settled in with your chosen delightful drink, we lay on cabaret entertainment. You can find out more details about the acts here. We also sell tasty Pieminster Pies and other snacks to ensure you can go the distance.

Last year we sold 400 pies and just over 4,000 half-pints. That’s an impressive amount of carousing and quaffing that we hope to match and perhaps even top this year.

Who is Stealth Brew Co?

Stealth is an independent microbrewery based in Wiltshire. They own The Vaults in Devizes and The Hiding Place in Melksham – both places where you can enjoy their ales, as well as drinks sourced from further afield, on any day of the year. At FOWA, Stealth Brew Co provides the knowhow, the set-up and many of the knowledgeable staff.

Partnering with local business helps to build a mutually supportive web that creates the best events in Devizes. We’re always open to new collaborations so if you think your work would be a great match with ours, get in touch to start a conversation.

How can you get tickets?

Tickets are still available for each session. You can buy online here or pop into Devizes Books, The British Lion, The Vaults and the Wadworth Visitor Centre to buy in person.

Speaking to Brian at The Vaults about the upcoming event, we talked about whether the FOWA was competition for local bars and, if so, why would they sell tickets? He said:

“We don’t see it like that. Events like this bring people together as well as promoting the range and quality of the kind of ales and ciders that are locally available. We get plenty of trade before and after the sessions and we’re also here when people want to experience the best beverages year-round because they enjoyed the festival.”

Why do we have FOWA?

The Festival of Winter Ales is a great way to reconnect during the colder months. However, it’s also an opportunity for us to fundraise for other free events that take place throughout the year.

DOCA is an independent organisation working to create great events for the people of Devizes and the surrounding areas. We have to apply for or fundraise for every penny to provide community-building, inspiring entertainment. By buying a ticket and coming along to FOWA you support DOCA events, invest in local business and get entertained into the bargain.

We appreciate everyone who takes part whether that’s on the bar, front of house, up on the stage, behind the scenes or attending the event. Massive thanks for being a part of the fun.