Urban Assault at Beerex

CHEERS: Dorchester Mayor Stella Jones with Richard Gabe, left, and Gully’s Place members Pam Bell, Allison Ryder and Jayne Hugh with Ellis Ford

CHEERS: Dorchester Mayor Stella Jones with Richard Gabe, left, and Gully’s Place members Pam Bell, Allison Ryder and Jayne Hugh with Ellis Ford

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

DRINKERS in Dorchester were 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 could be found at the weekend’s Beerex.

Around 1,300 people sampled 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 raised 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 West Dorset’s 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 and 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. 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 selecting 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 – 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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