East Anglian beer and cider festival is back

CELEBRATION: Ben Hall and Karen Hayler-Smith at last year's event
CELEBRATION: Ben Hall and Karen Hayler-Smith at last year's event
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Almost 50 East Anglian breweries will be represented at next week’s four-day silver edition of the East Anglian Beer and Cider Festival.

The festival, now in its 25th year, is organised by the West Suffolk branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and is a highlight for many drinkers in West Suffolk and beyond.

It enjoys a reputation for budget prices and encourages festival-goers to keep their glasses as treasured souvenirs.

Among 87 beers being showcased this year is Marmalade on toast – perhaps one for the start of the day– and Sleep and Tickle, which sounds like one for the last glass of the night.

George and Dragon seems a fitting brew considering the festival’s last day falls on St George’s Day and, being the year of the Queen’s 90th birthday, organisers are expecting to see queues of visitors eager to sup Her Majestea.

Following its success last year, the cider range has also been expanded with 21 to feature from across the region, including fruit ciders and a range of apple varieties.

Previous festivals have raised thousands of pounds for local charities and this year Suffolk West Citizens Advice and Riding for the Disabled have both been chosen to benefit from any profits.

The festival runs at The Apex, in Bury St Edmunds, from Wednesday to Saturday, April 20 to 23, opening from noon to 11pm each day.

Hot and cold food will be available at all times and drivers can have free soft drinks.

CAMRA members get free entry to the event, but non-members will have to pay £3 each – though anyone choosing to join CAMRA during the festival will get their entrance fee refunded.