Thirsty crowds flock to Dorchester for the annual Beerex Festival

GOOD HEALTH: Matt Pye, Rich Smith, Jason Bugler and Bryan Vickery at Beerex

GOOD HEALTH: Matt Pye, Rich Smith, Jason Bugler and Bryan Vickery at Beerex

First published in Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Dorchester reporter

THE pull of the pint saw hundreds of people turn out for the Dorchester Beerex Festival.

An estimated 1,400 people poured into the Corn Exchange over Friday and Saturday to enjoy a range of more than 80 ales.

This was a special year for the popular event, organised by West Dorset CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) and the Dorchester Round Table, as it celebrated its 25th anniversary.

Over the years it has raised £90,000 for good causes and organisers say takings from this year’s event have tipped them over the £100,000 mark.

Ellis Ford from the Round Table said: “It was a successful festival, most of the beer was drunk and we will have a figure for how much we have raised later in the week but it will be in excess of £10,000.”

Festival chairman Richard Bates said an estimated 5,500 pints were drunk over the two days and the title for best beer of the festival was claimed by Small Paul’s brewery from Gillingham for its Chocolate Porter.

The event was launched by Dorchester Mayor Andy Canning on Friday morning and was held across four sessions with live music during the evenings.

Tickets were sold out well in advance of the event and Mr Ford said all four sessions proved popular with crowds packing out the venue to enjoy some of the 83 tipples on offer.

Mr Ford said: “Both the bands went down really well, we had Hybrid on Friday night and on Saturday it was Shooter.

“There was a really great atmosphere in the hall, with lots of people drinking and it was a great festival.

“We had people coming from all over Dorset and from other counties.”

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The main beneficiary from this year’s event is MV Freedom, which offers boat trips from Weymouth for people with disabilities.

A raffle also raised £1,000 for the Round Table’s Children’s Wish appeal that aims to make the dreams of terminally ill children come true.

Mr Ford praised businesses that generously donated raffle items.

Mr Bates said he wanted to thank main sponsors Piddle Brewery and all the companies that sponsored a barrel at the event as well as the punters who turned out to enjoy the festival.

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