REAL ALE lovers downed almost 14,000 pints over the three days of this year’s Eastbourne Beer Festival as organisers enjoyed a sell-out success.
More than 4,500 people packed into the Eastbourne Winter Garden at the weekend for what was the ninth annual ale showcase – with Thursday, Friday and Saturday night sessions completely sold-out.
In fact, most of the tickets were snaffled up long in advance, with only the Saturday afternoon slot available to late-in-the-day revellers. Nevertheless, it still attracted 900 visitors – with many taking the chance to dance to the music of Hunters Moon Morris and Long Man Morris.
And real ale was not the only drink enjoyed over the course of the three-day drink-up.
The cider and perry bar was also very busy – shifting more than 2,000 pints of cider and nearly 900 pints of perry.
In fact, visitors average three pints per person.
Visitors also saw the judging of a heat of CAMRA’s Champion Beer of Britain competition and the judging panel included a string of local CAMRA members, all keen to add their expertise.
This year porters were being judgedwith Hammerpot Bottle Wreck scooping a clear win, Larkins Porter and Fullers London Porter took second and third place respectively.
Further awards handed out at this year’s included Beer of the Festival for Boggart Rum Porter, the Star of Eastbourne Award (Sussex Exempt Brewers) went to Pendle Witches Brew, and the CAMRA Sussex Microbrewer Award went to Beachy Head’s Legless Rambler.
Beachy Head Brewery’s head brewer Roger Green accepted the award from SE Sussex CAMRA branch chairman Peter Adams.
Other festival highlights included a packed programme of live entertainment, including Cold Shot and the Tourle Brothers who opened the show on Thursday evening, Smugg Jam and the Mojo Makers who rocked the venue on Friday night, and The Cajun Dawgs and Eastbourne favourite Beve and the Beatroots entertaining festival fans on Saturday.
Eastbourne Borough Council’s head of tourism, Councillor Neil Stanley, said, “What a brilliant year for Eastbourne Beer Festival with the event going from strength to strength.
“This is the second year in a row that tickets for all three evening sessions have sold out and it’s testament to the fantastic reviews the event has received over the years.
“This year the real ale menu boasted more than 150 varieties and contained some quirky new additions including Lees’ Coronation Street Bitter.
“It was great to see visitors and the local community coming together for this excellent event.”
Preparations for next year’s event are already underway. It will return from October 4 until 6 and for more information visit www.visiteastbourne.com.