All hail to the ale as Dorchester Beerex gets underway

ALE AND HEARTY: Dorchester Mayor Stella Jones launches the town's annual beer festival with Richard Gabe (left) and members of Gully's Place, Pam Bell, Allison Ryder and Jayne Hugh with Ellis Ford.       Picture: JOHN GURD/JG9837

ALE AND HEARTY: Dorchester Mayor Stella Jones launches the town's annual beer festival with Richard Gabe (left) and members of Gully's Place, Pam Bell, Allison Ryder and Jayne Hugh with Ellis Ford. Picture: JOHN GURD/JG9837

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

DRINKERS in Dorchester are busy on an Urban Assault, taking Granny's Teeth and then having some Amnesia.

No, there isn't anarchy in the streets of the county town - these are all just the comical names of drinks that can be found at this weekend's sell-out Beerex.

Around 1,300 people are expected to sample the delights of 85 ales and 15 perries and ciders from across the country, helping to raise money for a local cause.

This year, festival goers are raising a glass to brews from as far afield as the Isle of Skye and several local varieties from the likes of Piddle Brewery.

Organised by the West Dorset branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and Dorchester Round Table, Beerex 2014 is raising money for a palliative care unit for terminally ill children.

Gully's Place looks after terminally ill Dorset children their families and has a unit at Poole Hospital.

But it is hoped that enough funds can be raised to open another unit at Dorset County Hospital in the near future.

The sessions this evening and tomorrow lunchtime and evening are all sold out.

Beerex chairman Ellis Ford said: “For the last four or five years we've set a benchmark of raising £10,000.

“Hopefully we can match or beat that figure this year.

“We decided to make Gully's Place our main charity because the sooner they can open the unit at Dorchester the better.

“This year we've managed to get businesses to sponsor all of the barrels, which have raised £5,000 and helps towards that target.”

The ales are carefully selected by bar manager Rich Gabe and perries and ciders are chosen by Alex Bardswell.

Both, said Rich, have a big job on their hands selection quality tipples for every palette.

“We like to support local breweries so we try and get a good representation from Dorset, and then we look further afield,” he said.

“I use the CAMRA Good Beer Guide and I like to get a number of breweries that we've never had before.

“We've never had Revolutions from Yorkshire before, for example, or Sonnet 43 from Nottinghamshire.

“The important bit is getting something for every palette.

“We colour-code the barrels so we know we've got a good selection.

“We've got things from across the spectrum- AVBs, stouts, best bitters.

“But above all, this is a tremendous opportunity to help raise money for a good cause and help give something back to the community.”

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