MORE than 1,200 thirsty real ale and cider drinkers helped ensure Dorchester's Beerex festival enjoyed another successful year.

The event held last Friday and Saturday saw punters pack into the Corn Exchange to sample some of the 87 different ales on offer or 16 ciders and perries.

This year's festival also saw additional seating provided upstairs in the Town Hall for the first time.

The 29th annual event was organised by West Dorset CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) and the Dorchester Roundtable and they are expected it to have raised more than £10,000 for good causes, bringing the total raised over the years above £150,000.

The main charity beneficiary this year will be Mosaic, a Dorset based charity supporting bereaved children.

The Beerex committee said it would like to express its "sincere gratitude" all of the barrel sponsors and raffle prize donators, along with the festival's main sponsor Palmers Brewery of Bridport, who all helped make the impressive fundraising figures possible.

Beerex chairman Adrian Patterson said: "Early indications are that we’ve raised in excess of £10,000 for local good causes and our main charity, Mosaic, will receive the lion’s share of this.

"My thanks go to Palmers Brewery for supporting us for the third year running and to all the staff and committee members who gave up their time for free to make the event such a success.

"We’re always looking to make improvements, and the additional seating upstairs has been a hit.

"Next year’s 30th Dorchester Beerex will be bigger and better than ever."

Beer of the festival was awarded to Cerne Abbas Brewery for its 7.6 per cent Gurt Coconuts Rum Stout, the second time the beer has won at a local CAMRA festival.

Brewer Vic Irvine said: "We are honoured to win this prestigious award especially as it is done by public vote.

"Having won at Weymouth Octoberfest last year we never dreamed of doing the double.

"This was originally an experimental brew which we will be brewing again soon."

Another local Dorset brewery Gyle 59 took silver with Brad’s Coffee Stout.