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Two-day winter ale festival in Stortford starts today

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Possibly the antidote to post-Christmas blues or an alternative to shopping at the sales, a beer festival is being held in Bishop's Stortford today and tomorrow (Friday and Saturday).

The Winter Ale Festival is taking place at Hockerill Sports and Social Club in Beldams Lane. In previous years it was held at the Royal British Legion club in Windhill, which has now closed.

The event runs from noon until 11pm on both days. Admission is free. Over-18s only.

The festival showcases 12 Hertfordshire, Essex and Cambridgeshire ales with a Christmas theme, from the palest ales to the darkest stout, as well as a guest beer, Coal Wharf Stout, from the Greenodd Ship Brewery in the Lake District.

Alternatively, there is a barrel of traditional Hertfordshire cider, and the club bar will be open for additional alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. There are rumours that curry might be available to feed the hungry drinkers!

The Winter Ale Festival is a spin-off from the highly successful Bishop’s Stortford Beer Festival (BSBF), which was held in the grounds of the Legion club for the last nine summers. The Herts and Essex Borders branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) is working to identify a new location for this event and hopes to enter negotiations with a high-profile local partner in the near future.

This week’s festival is the brainchild of Kevin Scott, a member of Bishop’s Stortford Running Club, which shares Hockerill Sports and Social Club with Hockerill Cricket Club. Kevin, the club’s bar manager, enlisted the help of Tim Kelly, who was involved in the BSBF and Winter Ale Festival since its inception and is an active member of the local CAMRA branch.

Tim said: “We hope the event will prove popular with all running club and Hockerill Cricket Club members and friends, and all members of the public are very welcome to sample the variety of ales.”

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