Cheers!

BEERS from across the south of England are today being lined up to tickle the tastebuds of Suffolk devoted real ale lovers.The final touches were being put in place at the Ipswich Beer Festival before it opens its doors this afternoon (Wed).

BEERS from across the south of England are today being lined up to tickle the tastebuds of Suffolk devoted real ale lovers.

The final touches were being put in place at the Ipswich Beer Festival before it opens its doors this afternoon (Wed).

Organiser Rae Gardiner and his team of Ipswich Camra members were today ensuring that all the barrels are properly prepared for the stampede he is expecting between Wednesday and Saturday.

He said: “This year we are marking the 200th anniversary of the battle of Trafalgar - Nelson was an East Anglian, and although he was brought up on Norfolk he had strong links with Suffolk as well.

“At the time of the battle he was High Steward of Ipswich and his parents actually met at Beccles in the north of the county.”

The festival will feature beers from across the country - but there is a special emphasis on south coast breweries because of the link with Nelson.

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Mr Gardiner said: “We shall have many beers from Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight - as well as some real ale breweries in London.”

There's a lot of beer arriving for the festival - the organisers have ordered 230 firkins, each holding 72 pints.

As well as real ale, there are also ciders and perries on offer - along with some bottled real lager from continental breweries.

Mr Gardiner and his Camra colleagues have done extensive research into the links between Ipswich and Trafalgar.

Fellow Camra member Nigel Smith said: “Sir Thomas Slade was born in Ipswich and is buried in St Clement's churchyard.

“He was a naval architect and designed the Victory and other warships of the time. There is quite a big memorial to him by the entrance to the church, but these days no one knows much about him.

“There were also several other captains from Suffolk in Nelson's fleet at the battle.”

The beer festival was opening this afternoon at 5pm until 11pm. From tomorrow until Saturday it is open from 11am to 11pm.

On Saturday evening the special guests are Rockney duo Chas & Dave who will be entertaining the dedicated drinkers.

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