ALTON’S Summer Beer Festival attracted a healthy dose of ale lovers to Alton College last weekend, raising thousands of pounds for charity in the process.

A regular fixture in the Alton events calendar, people travelled from across the country to sample some of the UK’s finest real ales, ciders and wines. There were even visitors from Finland, Germany and as far afield as New Zealand – proving that the beer festival now truly has an international flavour!

Over the course of three sessions (two evening and one lunchtime), 1,000 people attended the festival and volunteers served more than 80 different beers, ciders or wines. The weather was glorious and a perfect match for the light, summery ales.

The LightsidE stillage showcased different beers including saisons, wheat beers and low ABV, while The Legg’s Inn bar continued to be popular with punters able to pour their own pints on the hand-pulls or try some sour beers.

In the separate Cider Bar, there were an array of local ciders to choose from, ranging from sweet and fruity to dry and tangy. There were also Hampshire white wines available for those who preferred the vine.

As well as Four Marks and Ropley Scouts continuing to flip burgers and cook hotdogs to raise money in aid of their new Scout hut, the festival welcomed staff from the Sir and Madam Thai restaurant in Guildford who provided something a little more spicy.

Kate’s Lite Bites served artisan Scotch eggs for the first time, in addition to the usual pork scratchings, nuts and nibbles.

And each session had its own vibe to entertain the crowds.

On Friday night, punters were dancing to local band Beat Route, Call Me Ishmael and 3pSuite brought an English folk feel to Saturday lunchtime, while Saturday evening had Sammy Rat and the Resonators getting everyone rocking away, including those serving behind the bar.

In expressing thanks to all those who helped to run the event, ABF trustee Louise Parker said: “The festival would not be able to run without all the volunteers who give their time and energy to help set up, serve and clear down. In addition, there are the countless people, organisations and local pubs who help in the run up to the festival with ticket sales, display of banners and posters.”

And she added:?“For both 2017 festivals, the volunteers sported festival polo shirts kindly sponsored by Bourne Estate Agents.”

Louise also thanked “all the breweries and cider makers who support the festival, in particular founding brewery sponsor Triple fff (at Four Marks)”.

“The beer festival is truly an event run by local people for the benefit of local people,” she said.

While the next Alton Beer Festival won’t be until February 16-17 next year, the team is now working hard on planning Alton’s inaugural Oktoberfest on October 28.

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