LOVERS of a good ale can indulge themselves during an upcoming festival.

The annual Braintree Beer Festival takes place next week at the Bocking Arts Theatre and this year’s event will include a staggering 52 different ales, ciders and perries.

Launched by the Braintree Lions Club in 2005, the festival has already raised more than £150,000 for good causes through the years and has continued to grow in popularity.

After initially starting in a marquee in Weavers Park, the festival is now held at the arts theatre and is best known for the real ale on offer.

An event spokesman said: “We believe the Braintree event has encouraged more people across the district to try real ale and many pubs around the district now put on real ale events themselves. Many others regularly stock a variety of real beers and ciders, often produced by local breweries.

“To illustrate the growth and popularity of real ale since our first festival, there are now over 30 breweries of varying sizes within Essex alone. Although the Braintree Real Ale Festival is not the largest in Essex, the organisers and regular attendees believe it cannot be matched for atmosphere and friendliness.”

Some of the ales and ciders on offer at this year’s festival have been brewed locally in areas such as Shalford, Langham and Colchester.

The event starts on Thursday, June 13 and runs through until Saturday, June 15. Doors will open from 11am on each day and close at 11pm.

There will be an entrance fee of £2, plus a £2 deposit for a glass. Camra and Lions club members can attend the festival for free.

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