The first beer festival to be held at Aldershot’s West End Centre brought fans of a tipple together for a sell-out event.

The Westy Winter Beer Festival on Saturday (January 11) featured ales from 10 independent breweries in Hampshire and Surrey, including Tongham’s Hogs Back Brewery, with whom the festival was organised.

Almost 400 people attended sessions in the afternoon and evening, when they enjoyed a feast of live music from Farnham’s Crosstown Trio, Fleet acoustic guitarist Neil Parker, the Fleet Booze Hound Blues, Farnborough’s Vibracore and Aldershot-based Rock’n’Roll Steve and Rollin’ Dice.

Out of 31 ales and ciders on offer, 10 were completely sold out thanks to the thirsty guests, with the Hogs Back Brewery’s Hogstar lager the first to disappear.

It was the first taste of hosting a beer festival for the centre and many revellers were visiting the venue for the first time.

Champion beer

West End marketing officer Steve Gibbs said the atmosphere had been very friendly.

“Despite knowing we had done everything we could to ensure a successful event, we were naturally a bit unsure how it would be received,” he said. “But even by the end of the first session, we knew it would become an annual event, such was the great reaction. The live music went down a storm.”

A chill-out room was also available at the centre, where guests could view the Kazland and Funns art exhibition.

Champion beer of the day, as voted for by visitors, was Space Hoppy IPA, produced by Binghams Brewery in Berkshire.

Ferrymans Gold, brewed by Loddon Brewery in Oxfordshire, was second, with Maggs Magnificent Mild, from West Berkshire Brewery at Yattendon, near Thatcham, in third place.

Mr Gibbs said that feedback from visitors would be taken on board to implement at next year's festival.