Beerly beloved... real ale fans congregate in church again

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Hull’s REAl ale and cider festival which is underway in the country’s largest parish church is the biggest yet - with 3,000 punters expected and more beer than ever before.

Organisers have put on 130 casks this year, a 12 per cent increase over last year, such has the popularity of the venue, 14th century Holy Trinity Church, in the Old Town, proved.

Drinkers are spoilt for choice with 115 beers, 25 cider and perry and 20 world beers to choose from.

The event, which ends tomorrow at 8pm, also pays testimony to the increasing number of local microbreweries, with all 12 within a 25-mile radius taking part, including newcomers Crystal, who only opened on the former BAE Systems site at Brough last month.

Festival organisers the Hull and East Yorkshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale, who are behind a new “LocAle” initiative which promote pubs stocking locally-brewed beer said everyone benefited - with fewer “beer miles” done by wagons and the local economy benefitting because money is spent and retained locally.

Festival organiser Stewart Campbell doesn’t believe the thirst for real ale will dry up any time soon.

He said: “I think there’s a demand for local beers and local choice. When you only have a certain amount of money to spend you tend to prefer to drink a quality product rather than a mass-produced product.

“Sales of lager are dropping in pubs but real ale is going up and it’s noticeable that pubs in the local branch area that haven’t done real ale for a long time are starting to put them back in.”

He added: “Four years ago there were only four breweries now there’s 12 and I’ve heard rumours of at least another two starting up.”

Today there is free entry till 6pm and £5 afterwards (the fee includes £1 refundable glass and a £1.50 beer token)

Tomorrow there is free entry all day, until the 8pm close.