By Tristan Harris 29/06 Updated: 29/06 02:57
THE TENTH annual Bromsgrove Beer Festival got underway last night (Thursday) in the bright sunshine after a day full of storms.
The event, which continues between 5pm and 11pm tonight (Friday) and 11am to 9pm tomorrow (Saturday) at the town's rugby club, boasts more than 100 ales, along with 45 ciders and perries and fruit wines.
One of the visitors on the opening night was Carol Roberts from Redditch, who was there with her friends Donna and Maria Hopwood.
She said: "We have been coming to the festival for more than six years, the atmosphere is excellent.
"It's so important to support local breweries."
Another, Jay Quinn from Rock Hill, told The Standard: "We come every year - it's a great venue for a fantastic festival."
The chosen charity of the year is Bromsgrove Royal British Legion.
Chairman Patrick Smith said: "We are absolutely over the moon that we were chosen as the charity of choice.
"It's going to help the branch a lot, especially this year, our 90th anniversary."
As is traditional with beer festivals, every time someone joins CAMRA, a bell is rang and there is a big cheer.
This year, in addition to that, every time someone joins the Royal British Legion, a traditional air raid siren will be sounded.
As well as the ales, perries and cider, the annual Worcestershire and Redditch and Bromsgrove Pub of the Year award was presented to The Weighbridge in Alvechurch.
John Humphreys, who runs the venue with his wife Jayne, said: "It's absolutely fantastic - we can't believe we have won, but are very honoured to accept the prize."
Members of Redditch and Bromsgrove CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale), which organises the event, have been asking visitors to help save the Great British Pint.
Statistics show one third of every pint goes to the taxman in beer duty and VAT and that will increase every year as part of the Government’s beer duty escalator.
This will increase the pressure on community pubs already struggling to survive and will damage the sustainability of the beer and pubs sector.
CAMRA is calling for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to abandon the escalator at the next budget and is asking everyone to sign the e-petition at camra.org.uk/saveyourpint
If the petition reaches 100,000 signatures, the campaign can force a high-profile debate in the house of commons to stop the escalator on beer duty.
For more on the festival visit www.bromsgrovebeerfestival.org.uk
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