Festival celebrates region’s top tipples

THE doors of one of west Suffolk’s finest buildings today opens for a four-day showcase of the region’s finest ales.

Now in its 19th year, the East Anglian Beer Festival in Bury St Edmunds boasts more than 80 beers and ciders from independent breweries across East Anglia.

Among them is a new beer called Lifesaver, created by the White Horse Brewery at Edwardstone, near Boxford, to celebrate the 10th birthday of the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

For each pint of Lifesaver sold, 10p will go to the life-saving charity.

This year’s festival is expected to be the last held in the town’s historic Corn Exchange building, whose future use remains uncertain. St Edmundsbury Borough Council had lodged plans to turn it into a public house, though those plans were thrown out by the authority two weeks ago.

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Kevin Waterson, chairman of the West Suffolk Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), said: “It will probably be the last one in the Corn Exchange and it has given us a traditional pub feel. Next year we will be in The Apex (the new public venue in the Arc shopping centre) and we will be able to double the number of people who come in.

“This year is brilliant and I’m looking forward to the whole week.”

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As well as the Lifesaver beer, there will be an ale called 1862 commemorating the Corn Exchange building, a pint called “Hero”, 10p of which will go towards the Help for Heroes campaign, and rival ales called St Edmund, which will be sold to raise money for the Bury St Edmunds Sea Cadets, and St George.

Mr Waterson said he was pleased the West Suffolk CAMRA branch could accommodate charitable ales.

“There has always been a strong charitable theme with the festival - it is just because of the way we’ve set it up.”

The festival doors are open until Saturday from noon until 11pm each day. Admission is �2.

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