Campaigners are toasting their most popular beer festival yet in Weymouth.

The drinkathon at Weymouth Pavilion Ocean Room last month was the best ever says the West Dorset branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

Drinkers voted Pesky Pirate Porter from the new Bournemouth Brewery as the CAMRA Beer of the Festival, an ale described as “full of chocolate and crystal malt flavours, with a cool lingering hop finish”.

To recognise the win, West Dorset CAMRA Chairman Dave Harris presented the certificate to brewer Chris Mathers.

Success for the microbrewery, based in Poole’s Nuffield Industrial Estate, came at the best festival to be held in Weymouth.

Mr Harris said: “Ticket sales were up, we sold more beer and we’ve been flooded with messages of congratulation from happy festival goers.

He added: “All four sessions were almost sold out with about 1,300 customers. We even heard that the Weymouth Street Pastors noticed groups of ‘happy people’ in the town after the festival.”

The venue has been booked again for next year for October 3 and 4. The festival moved to the Ocean Room in 2011 and the venue is considered a major part of the event’s success CAMRA spokesman Michel Hooper-Immins said: “There is universal praise for the Ocean Room from our members and customers, some of whom travel hundreds of miles to join us for the weekend.

“With much more seating and spectacular views across the bay, we don’t think there is a better venue in the area.

“We’re all delighted to see the Pavilion open again, a great asset to the town.

“Thanks to Phil Say and his team for making us so welcome.”

New this year was a box at the exit where drinkers could donate surplus beer tickets.

This raised £169 for the Community Interest Company running the Pavilion, to which West Dorset CAMRA added £400 as a donation – over and above the room hire fee.

During the two days of the beer festival, most of the 70 casks of real ale were consumed, containing some 5,000 pints, all from South West breweries. In addition, eleven ciders and perries were available.