GLASSES were raised and barrels rolled out to celebrate a decade of Stratford Beer and Cider Festival.
Around 1,500 real ale lovers flocked to Stratford Racecourse on Friday and Saturday (June 10 and 11) for the tenth annual festival.
The theme for this year’s event was ‘Wales, The West and the Best’ with around half of the ales coming from Wales and the West Country.
And as well as offerings from regional and national breweries, the festival also gave visitors the chance to try locally brewed beers from Shipston, Alcester and the north Cotwolds.
Organised by Shakespeare branch of the Campaign for Real Ale, the event featured around 70 real ales as well as a selection of ciders and perries.
The event was officially opened on Friday evening by Stratford Mayor Juliet Short and the beer of the festival was voted as Gower Power from Gower Brewery.
For the second year running, cider of the festival was Cuckoo Spit – produced by CAMRA members Dave and Karen Wilson.
In celebration of the tenth anniversary, the previous nine ‘beer of the festival’ winners were invited back while a number of commemorative ales were also produced.
More than £8,000 has been raised for The Shakespeare Hospice since the event’s inception in 2007, and this year was no exception with sales from scratchcards, tombola tickets and donations totalling £1,000.
A cheque for £510 was also presented to the Shottery-based hospice thanks to donations of unused drinks tokens from last year’s festival.
Organiser Julian Stobinski told The Observer: “The tenth Stratford Beer and Cider Festival was a great success with some 1,500 visitors travelling from all over the country to sample what was on offer.
“As well as plenty of local beers, ciders and perries, visitors were able to try drinks from Wales and West Country breweries and producers which, in many cases, will not have been available in this area before.
“Although the weather was somewhat hit and miss, the festival was a wonderful social event held in great surroundings and 30 new CAMRA members were signed up.
“The committee would like to thank all the sponsors, visitors and volunteers who helped make this such an enjoyable and successful weekend.”