BEER lovers are raising their glasses to the 25th annual Dorchester Beerex.

Tankards were clinked at the Corn Exchange to the festival which has so far raised £90,000 for good causes since its inception.

A refreshing 83 varieties from across the country are lined up in their kegs ready for the taste buds of beer fans and newcomers alike this weekend.

Beerex chairman Richard Bates said: “We’re expecting to see around 1,400 people over the four sessions.

“We have to try and work out how much beer we’ll need for the weekend.

“On average people tend to drink about three and a half pints each.

“We try to aim to have around seven or eight per cent left at the end.

“That’s in case we have the odd barrel we can’t serve, or if stuff hasn’t turned up which, luckily, hasn’t happened this year.”

He added that a lot of hard work goes into making sure the festival runs as smoothly as the beers being supped.

He said: “I got here about three or four hours before we opened. We need to check the last 20 to 30 beers, making sure they’re in a fit state to be served.

“We check to see they’re clear and not sour or anything.”

The beer festival committee starts meeting from September to plan the event.

“It takes us about six or seven months to get it organised.”

Proceeds for local charities from the festival will hit the £100,000 mark and this year’s main beneficiary will be the MV Freedom. Dorchester Mayor Andy Canning also stopped by for a sample of the beers that have attracted so much interest.

Drinking some Proper Job from St Austell, he said: “I must admit I’m not a big drinker but I do enjoy a good pint from time to time. It’s great to see so much variety with 83 beers here.

“And of course Beerex has raised so much money for charity. Raising more than £90,000 while having so much fun really is exceptional.”