8,000 visitors at four-day beer festival

PUBLISHED: 12:12 29 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:37 06 May 2010

Phil Drefriez, chair of South Herts CAMRA (left) and the Mayor try out a beer with Kevin Yelland of Alehouse Brewery based at the Farmers Boy in St Albans during the competition to find the best ale f

Phil Drefriez, chair of South Herts CAMRA (left) and the Mayor try out a beer with Kevin Yelland of Alehouse Brewery based at the Farmers Boy in St Albans during the competition to find the best ale f

BEER buffs enjoyed a tipple or three at this year s St Albans festival. Nearly 1,000 thirsty visitors welcomed the first day of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) event on Wednesday, and the vast array of beverages on offer did not disappoint. More than 3

BEER buffs enjoyed a tipple or three at this year's St Albans festival.

Nearly 1,000 thirsty visitors welcomed the first day of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) event on Wednesday, and the vast array of beverages on offer did not disappoint.

More than 300 kegs of top-quality British real ale decorated the ground floor of the Alban Arena venue, alongside ample amounts of cider, barley wine and fruit beer. From the slightly coffee-tasting Oscar Wilde brew to the nutty and spice infused Bonkers Conkers blend, there were enough tastes available to please even the pickiest punter.

An auctioneer was on the main stage flogging everything from novelty t-shirts to rare bottles of jubilee beer, and the St Albans museum service had a stand displaying drinking paraphernalia and beer images from history.

A hot food stall was also available for anyone who wished to line their stomach before tackling a pint of Ninety Nine and a Half (won't do), the most alcoholic beer on offer at 10 per cent.

High-quality cider from regions such as Norfolk and Somerset also proved popular, despite their incomprehensible names. Seidr O Sir Maes Edwy dry was a popular choice, and the barman said he had sold more than 100 pints of cider by 9pm.

Joe Hudson, a 21-year-old from St Albans, said he had a wonderful evening: "It's like a hop explosion in here and I particularly enjoyed the lustrous and intense flavour of my pint of Firebox". Joe went home happy after winning a jar of Guinness-flavoured Marmite at auction.

The festival was a four-day event and other excitements included tombola and a team quiz, as well as a blind-tasting test to find the best beer in Herts. Blues/rock band Dr Feelgood provided the final fling on Saturday night, entertaining the swaying crowd with a 90-minute set of their most popular songs.

John Bishop, organiser of the South Herts branch of Camra, said that more than 8,000 visitors attended over the four days. "It was a record year for us. We sold more beer and cider than ever before confirming our position as one of the country's premier beer festivals as well as the largest in Herts. We're already looking forward to next year.

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