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No froth among real ale lovers

PUBLISHED: 20:34 25 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:43 03 March 2010

REAL ale drinkers cut through the froth as they tucked into the colourfully named brews at the start of the Ipswich beer festival.

Names like Dragonslayer, Mole Trap and Roaring Boy may sound more at home on the racecourse - but they proved a surefire hit with the real ale faithful.

REAL ale drinkers cut through the froth as they tucked into the colourfully named brews at the start of the Ipswich beer festival.

Names like Dragonslayer, Mole Trap and Roaring Boy may sound more at home on the racecourse – but they proved a surefire hit with the real ale faithful.

Not a pint of lager was in sight as beer buffs from far and wide travelled to the 20th festival, organised Ipswich and East Suffolk branch of CAMRA - and this year with a Celtic theme.

Having followed the sawdust trail up the stairs and clutching their complimentary pint glasses the (mainly) menfolk strode into the main hall of the Corn Exchange in King Street, closely studying the extensive beer list.

Brews from across the UK are on offer, with the largest selection yet from the Republic of Ireland, as well as a collection from smaller independent brewers mainly based in Suffolk.

While some drinkers were heartily quaffing the stuff, others preferred to sip and consider a moment the finer points of their beer, while ticking off cards to show what they had had and whether they thought it was up to standard.

But whatever their drink and however they drank it, most of them were there for the same reason – to have a good time.

Ron Harding, from Chantry, has been going to the festival for the last ten years.

He said: "It is nice to be able to sample a beer that's not available in the pub.

"There are not many pubs that serve a decent real ale.

"Most of the beers here are drinkable but there are some here that you stay away from."

Dave Turner, of Britannia Road, Ipswich is a regular at all the beer festivals around the area.

He said: "I just like real ales and go to festivals to try local real ales.

"But it's not just about trying different beers, it's the ambience of the place.

"It is a local event that I think it is important to support."

The festival is split on two different floors with family and quiet seating areas downstairs for anyone who wanted to get away from the music – or sample bottled beers.

Husband and wife team Paul and Jenny Huff, from St. Catherine's Court, Ipswich are also regulars at the festival.

Rather than sticking to just one beer that they might like they were trying several different ones.

Paul said: "So far we have not found a bad one, although there are one or two weak ones which are rather disappointing."

Both he and Jenny prefer a fruity flavoured beer, although one was rather too ripe for Jenny's delicate tastebuds.

She said: "There was one that tasted like a compost heap and you think –'do people really enjoy this?'"

Like many people supporting the festival, they are all going to make a second visit there later in the week.

The festival is open from 11am to 2.30pm and 5pm to 11pm today and Thursday and from 11am to 11pm on Friday and Saturday.

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