THOUSANDS of drinkers will queue up at the Oxford Beer and Cider Festival at the town hall.

About 20 of the 90 breweries at the festival are from Oxfordshire, ranging from larger and long-established names such as Wychwood and Hook Norton, to micro-breweries in Bicester and Wantage that normally only supply their own pubs.

Coming to the festival for the first time is Amwell Springs from Cholsey, a new micro-brewery that opened last year.

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Other breweries sending their beers to Oxford are based as far away as St Ives in Cornwall, Middlesbrough in the north and Bridgend in Wales.

Oxford Mail:

As many breweries are supplying two beers, the total available will be 130 on Thursday and Friday, with 40 different ales held back for drinkers to enjoy on Saturday.

There will also be about 50 ciders and perries.

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The festival, now in its 22nd year at the town hall, is staying true to its roots by only serving real or cask ale despite the growing number of craft keg beers now being produced.

It is organised by the Oxford branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), whose spokesman Dave Richardson said: “It is great to see so many local breweries thriving, at a time when big breweries such as Greene King and Fuller’s have been sold to Asian investors.

Oxford Mail:

“People increasingly want to drink local as well as eat local.

"Even the smallest breweries are having some success getting their beers into discerning local pubs, so if you find one you like at the festival you might be able to continue drinking it in your local as well as buying it direct from the brewery.”

Beers of many different styles will be available, all poured directly from the cask, including bitters, milds, porters, stouts, blonde ales, hoppy IPAs and Continental-style beers.

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The strongest will be a 10.1% ale by 3 Piers called Golden Bastard, while the weakest is a 3.1% ale by Horsetown brewery in Yorkshire called Brexit Beer. Most will be in the 4-5.5% range.

“We only recommend the stronger beers in small measures,” said Mr Richardson. “As for the Brexit Beer, we’re not sure about its ingredients despite rumours that there might be fudge and a lot of watering down!”

Oxford Mail:

The Museum of Oxford will be present at the festival on Friday afternoon, inviting people to bring photos and mementoes as it puts together a new display on pubs and brewing in the city for the revamped museum opening in 2020.

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On Saturday afternoon the Bodleian Library will be selling prints of its 1883 Drink Map of Oxford, put together by Temperance campaigners worried about drunkenness and disorder.

Mr Richardson added: “This promises to be our best festival yet. Organising it is a very big volunteer team effort behind the scenes, and takes nearly a year of planning.”

Oxford Mail:

The Oxford Beer and Cider Festival is at the Town Hall, St Aldates, from 5-11pm on Thursday, from 11am-11pm on Friday, and from 11am-10.30pm on Saturday. Entry costs £5 including glass, with drinks tokens costing £5 a strip.