September 29th, 2016

Updated: 9:47 am, May 07, 2015

A POPULAR beer festival has made a welcome return to the borough after a two year break.

More than 500 people flocked to Redditch Winter Ales Festival at Rocklands Social Club in Headless Cross last Friday and Saturday (February 6 and 7). Organised by the Redditch and Bromsgrove branch of CAMRA, the event featured numerous beers and ciders.

Inkberrow based Ambridge Brewery also unveiled their new pale bitter Jester, made using Jester hops which is a new developmental variety from Ali Capper’s hop farm in Suckley, Worcestershire.

John Nowacki, head brewer at Ambridge Brewery, said it was great to see the event back on the calendar.

“It’s fantastic to be here – we have been promoting English hops as a lot of brewers these days use American ones. Not a lot of people know that here in Worcestershire we grow more hops than anywhere else in the UK.”

Jester was also named one of the beers of the festival along with Shed’s Spotted Cock and Saltaire’s Elderflower Blonde. The cider of the festival title went to Green Valley’s Rum Tiddly Tum.

As well as food and drink on offer, the event also raised £180 for charity. Zoe’s Place – the region’s only hospice specifically for babies – will benefit from the donations.

Fund-raiser Leanne Hawkes, who is undertaking a Great Wall of China Trek later on in the year, was representing the charity there.

“The hospice is not open 24/7 at the moment but a few extra pounds will enable it to do that.” she said. “It’s great the festival is supporting such a worthwhile local cause.”

Fund-raiser Leanne Hughes with Paul Richards from Redditch and Bromsgrove CAMRA. (s)

Paul Turnadine, from Stirchley, Merve Parkes from Halesowen and David and Linda Gillespie from Sambourne at the festival.

John Nowacki from Ambridge Brewery pours one of the ales he has helped make (s).

Paul Richards from Redditch and Bromsgrove CAMRA with John Nowacki from Ambridge brewery and MP Karen Lumley. (s)

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