GLASSES are being raised to Dorset’s newest brewery for producing the best ale at the Weymouth Beer Festival.

Visitors to the October event organised by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) were invited to vote for their favourite tipple – and chose Cerne Abbas Ale from the newly-established Cerne Abbas Brewery as Beer of the Festival.

A presentation was made at a special ‘thank you’ event at Weymouth Pavilion for the 47 festival volunteers.

The Cerne Abbas Brewery launched in May when Vic Irvine and Jodie Moore bought the equipment of Art Brew at North Chideock. With the help of Chris Parsons, Cerne Abbas Ale is finding many devotees in the county.

CAMRA spokesman Michel Hooper-Immins said: “Festivalgoers voted during all four sessions and the beer with the most number of votes receives the high accolade of Beer of the Festival.

“We in West Dorset CAMRA are absolutely delighted the brand new Cerne Abbas Brewery has won, a good omen for their future success in the local brewing world.”

Chairman of the West Dorset branch of CAMRA Dave Harris added: “We are always surprised and delighted when a previously unknown beer wins our public vote.

“This year, not only did Cerne Abbas Ale win the competition, but sold out on the first day – a double success.

“Enough votes were cast to beat all other beers, which had two days at our event, so it is a very well-deserved award.”

The team are still brewing at North Chideock, but will soon move to a new location near Cerne Abbas.

Vic Irvine said: “We were delighted to win the Beer of the Festival award.

“CAMRA beer festivals are always the best and given that our beer ran out after two of the four sessions, we felt our achievement was quite remarkable.”

Next year’s festival will be held on October 16-17, at Weymouth Pavilion Ocean Room.