BARRELS are being tapped and glasses cleaned ready for the 2011 Alnwick Beer Festival to open its doors this weekend.
Now in its fifth year, the beer festival is a a firm favourite on the town’s events calendar as a celebration of local breweries and producers.
In total, 32 beers from 15 different breweries and seven ciders as well as wine and soft drinks will be on offer.
This year, there is a Scottish theme to the event, with more breweries from over the border showcasing their brews and Thistly Cross Cider providing an array of flavoured drinks to tantalise the taste buds.
And new for this year will be live music on Saturday night from local singer-songwriter Maddy Stuckey.
Food will also be on offer, thanks to Turnbull’s of Alnwick.
Iain Stewart, beer festival director for organisers Alnwick and District Round Table, said: “We’re really looking forward to this year’s event. We’ve all been working hard to make sure it is a success and we hope that by having music on Saturday night we will encourage even more visitors to come along and see what we have got to offer.
“If you enjoy real ale or simply want to enjoy a fantastic social event, then make sure you come along and sample our ales, ciders and atmosphere.”
Alnwick Beer Festival was launched in September 2007, when, after many hours of research the members of Alnwick Round Table thought that it would be a good idea to organise their own beer festival.
The aim was to provide a chance for the people of Northumberland to taste the offerings of local breweries throughout the North East.
In 2007, the first Alnwick Beer Festival was held at Alnwick Cricket Club and, while it was a big success, it was felt that it needed to be brought into the town centre to build on that.
So, the second festival was held in the Town Hall, by kind permission of the Freemen of Alnwick, and it has been held there ever since.
It is staffed by volunteers – members of the Alnwick and District Round Table – who pull half-pints until the barrels are dry and keep the punters happy.
Last year was the first time that all beers sold out and the Tablers are hoping for the same again this weekend.
Local businesses sponsor the beers to help make the event a success and a sponsors’ night is held on Friday night for them.
All money raised from the event is put back into the local community.
Tickets for the festival cost £5 per person, which includes a souvenir glass and programme.
The festival runs from 11am to 11pm on Saturday and noon to 6pm on Sunday or earlier if the beer runs out.
Beer tokens cost £5 for four with each token worth half a pint.
For more information, visit www.alnwickbeerfestival.co.uk and tickets can be bought online or on the door.
Below is a list of breweries and beers on offer at the Alnwick Beer Festival.
Hadrian & Border Brewery
Tyneside Blonde 3.9%
Farne Island 4%
Ginger Beer 4%
High House Farm Brewery
Auld Hemp 3.8%
Nel’s Best 4.2%
Wylam Bitter 3.8%
Gold Tankard 4%
Northumbrian Blonde 4%
Gowfers Gold 3.8%
Birdie Three 4%
Three Sisters 4.2%
Trade Winds 4.3%
Fyne Ales Brewery
Lia Fail 4.7%
Edinburgh No.3 4.3%
WPentland IPA 3.9%
Williams Brothers Brewery
Cock of the Walk 4.3%
Ceilidh Lager 4.7%
St Andrews Ale 4.9%
Scottish Border Brewery
The Alnwick Brewery
Alnwick IPA 4.5%
Westons First Quality 5%
Westons Old Rosie Scrumpy 7.3%
Westons Bounds Brand 4.8%
Thistly Cross Original Still 7.2%
Thistly Cross Traditional 4.4%
Thistly Cross Red 4%
Thistly Cross Ginger 4%
Thistly Cross Gold 4%