Beer lovers pour in to toast CAMRA festival

Amber Valley Real Ale Festival at Strutts Centre. Pictured l-r Paddy Christian, Cameron Goodwin and Emily Bowler.
Amber Valley Real Ale Festival at Strutts Centre. Pictured l-r Paddy Christian, Cameron Goodwin and Emily Bowler.

Nearly 1,600 people turned out for a major beer festival in its new home at Belper’s Strutts Centre.

Beer-lovers from as far afield as Lincolnshire attended the Amber Valley CAMRA Beer and Cider Festival- the fifth of its kind to take place in the borough.

Following a disappointing turnout at Alfreton Leisure Centre last year, organisers re-located to Strutts. And after numbers improved by around 50 per cent they are now hoping to make the Belper venue the festival’s new home for future events.

Phil Marshall from Amber Valley CAMRA said: “We love the new venue - there’s been a really nice atmosphere and we think this is a good home we can expand into.

“Strutts have worked with us and it’s been a really positive step and we hope we will be coming here for a long time to come. The weather really helped as well and we are really pleased with the turnout.”

This year the event had a special Americana twist to mark the 20th anniversary of the twinning of Belper with Pawtucket in Rhode Island, USA.

Earlier this year CAMRA contacted all the brewers in the Pawtucket area to ask if they would like to get involved in the festival. As a result, collaboration brews between two local breweries, Amber and Leadmill, and two Pawtucket brewing companies, Foolproof and Ravenous were prepared for the event.

In total there were more than 60 beers to choose from during the sessions - which ran from Thursday, September 25 until Sunday, September 27.

There were also performances from bands over the weekend with musical styles ranging from blues and jazz to folk and rock, some of which reflected the Americana theme of the festival.

They included The Ford Jones Dixieland Jazz Band, Mojosa + Gasping Kahuna, Pink & Blues Acoustic Live Lounge, DH Lawrence & the Vaudeville Skiffle Show, Midnight Pumpkin Trucks, Ricky & the Retrosand The Fab Two.

Meanwhile food with an Americana theme was provided for the hungry ale-lovers.