Video: Beer festival kicks off in style

IT was the stuff of beer lovers' dreams today at the 26th annual Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Beer Festival, held at the Ipswich Corn Exchange.

Tom Potter

IT was the stuff of beer lovers' dreams today at the 26th annual Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Beer Festival, held at the Ipswich Corn Exchange.

The four day event is the biggest of its kind in Suffolk and as always there were no half measures taken by organisers when it opened yesterday afternoon.

After this evening, there are still two days of drinking to be done with something to please even the most hardened beer connoisseur and even those who are put off by the idea of real ale have some cask lagers to choose from.

Among the more acquired tastes are Charter Ale, brewed with coriander and orange, and several beers infused with blackberry and raspberry flavours.

There's a lot of preparation to be done for the festival with all the barrels needing to be racked days in advance.

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This year's theme is 'new wave' beers, on offer exclusively from 21st century breweries.

Paul Jeffrey, organising the festival for CAMRA for a third year, explained how real ale can be enjoyed by everyone.

He said: “As organisers of the event, the onus has been on us to keep finding new and unusual beers.

“It's a chance for some of the smaller breweries, who would otherwise not get their beers into pubs, to get noticed.

“Although beer sales overall have declined in recent times, the sale of real ale is up, with 80 new breweries starting up this year alone, and we're seeing a lot of younger people coming back to real ale.”

The festival continues today and on Friday and Saturday from 11am to 11pm. Bavarian style band, Alpengold Blaskapelle, will be on stage tomorrow evening and Saturday night's entertainment comes courtesy of Abba Dream.

Tickets are available on the door or for advanced purchase from the box office on 01473 433 100.

Tickets are £1 from 11am to 6pm today and tomorrow with free entry for concessions. After 6pm they are £2 and concessions get in for £1.

On Saturday tickets are again £1 from 11am to 6pm with free entry for concessions. From 6pm it's £5 with no concessionary rate.

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