Festival is just days away

REAL ale fans from across the area have only 48 hours before Suffolk's biggest beer festival opens its doors to the public.

REAL ale fans from across the area have only 48 hours before Suffolk's biggest beer festival opens its doors to the public.

Most of the beer for the festival arrived at the Corn Exchange today to allow it to settle before the first pints are pulled for the public.

Members of Ipswich and East Suffolk Camra spent much of yesterday setting up the frames - or stillage - and counters that will be used for the four-day event.

Nigel Smith from Ipswich and East Suffolk Camra said: “We've had about 20 volunteers, but we could always do with more. It's quite a physically demanding job.


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“All the counters and stillage have to be carried up the stairs - they're too big to go in the lift - although the coolers and the barrels can come up in the lift.

“We're getting tired but it's all going to be worthwhile - there are two days of hard work to get this all set up.”

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This year's festival has Darwin's bicentenary as its theme and many of the beers on sale have links to animals or birds.

“We'll have about 200 barrels here and several Belgian and German beers as well,” said Mr Smith.

“They have to be kept in top condition and allowed to settle for a couple of days before the festival opens. The beer needs to be cooled, although definitely not chilled, because it can get quite warm in the Corn Exchange and that is not ideal for it!”

This is the 27th Ipswich beer festival and this year drinkers will be able to take home something a bit different with them - the souvenir glass is a one-pint mug with a handle.

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