HUNDREDS of people tried out all sorts of tasty tipples as the Swindon Beer Festival made its triumphant return.

The Wiltshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale spent months organising the event held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday which saw more than 1,800 people visit the museum's Great Hall to savour more than 90 beers along with a range of ciders and perries.

Not even flash floods on Friday evening could stop determined visitors from stopping by, with some braving the 15-minute walk from the train station in torrential rain.

The downpours led to most of the Steam Musem being closed on Saturday, but luckily, the event venue was unaffected.

Swindon Advertiser: The Swindon Beer Festival. Pictures: DAVE COXThe Swindon Beer Festival. Pictures: DAVE COX (Image: Dave Cox)

CAMRA member Richard James said: "We battled through on Friday and tried to have a laugh with it. People arrived here bedraggled and soaked, but smiling.

"For the last two years, every time anyone saw us, they would say 'when is the beer festival coming back?' so they're really happy to be here at last - and so are we!

"People come from far and wide - Reading, Gloucestershire, Chippenham, and further afield - so for some, this is the only time they see each other.

"We've had a great turnout and our volunteers have travelled a long way to help out."

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The hall hosted three brewery bars from the Hop Kettle, Broad Town Brewery, and Ramsbury, along with a variety of offerings from other sellers who came from as near as Drink Valley off Fleet Street and as far as the Isle of Arran in Scotland.

During the festival, punters gradually emptied 91 nine-gallon casks - each cask had around 70 pints' worth of alcohol inside.

Arkell's Brewery sponsored the staff T-shirts and Broadtown Brewery sponsored the pint glasses.

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Broadtown Brewery barman Brian York said: "It's nice to be back, you can't beat it.

"I was here on Friday as a punter and Saturday as staff, it's been busy. The British standard Best Bitter and Weisse Horse, which is like German wheat beer, were the most popular drinks.

"Events like this are important because they put our name out there a bit more and it helps get a few more pubs on board.

"We're a small outfit in The Hop Chapel near Royal Wootton Bassett, managed by Jason Bayliffe, only brewing 10 barrels at a time but hoping to expand."

Swindon Advertiser: CAMRA member Richard James. Pictures: DAVE COXCAMRA member Richard James. Pictures: DAVE COX (Image: Dave Cox)

The beer festival will return on October 19 next year.

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