WINCHESTER Beer and Cider Festival returns on March 13-14 celebrating the apple and the grain.

This year there will be four sessions over Friday and Saturday at the city Guildhall, its home since its return in 2011.

Each year almost 3,000 people attend and in 2020 there will be over 70 real ale and KeyKeg beers plus over 30 ciders/perries and around 30 bottled beers to keep them all refreshed.

This year will also see the launch of a gin and wine bar for those who prefer these tipples.

Music will be provided by Rough Cut on the Friday evening; Plaitford Common on the Saturday afternoon and The Skore that evening.

A tutored tasting will be held by beer expert Adrian Tierney-Jones, on the Friday afternoon, where attendees can learn how to develop further their appreciation of real ale.

The CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) festival is organised by over 100 local volunteers who give their time to help introduce people to the delights of real ale and cider and to raise money for local good causes.

Each year thousands of pounds are raised for charity and in 2020 Winchester Nightshelter will be supported and Winchester Well-Being will again run the cloakroom to raise much needed funds to help provide lunch clubs for senior citizens throughout the week.

Attendees will also get the chance to vote for their favourite drink. Last year Eastleigh’s Steam Town Brew Co won the Beer of the Festival with Orange County - an IPA made in collaboration with the Butcher’s Brew Club - while Cider of the Festival was won by local producer Meon Valley with their Dragonfly.

Tickets are now available at The Albion; The Black Boy; The Hyde Tavern; The Westgate; and The William Walker in Winchester plus The Guide Dog in Southampton and the Steam Town Brew Co in Eastleigh.

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