Great British Beer Festival, West London

Caroline Cassidy

Britain's biggest and best beer festival is back at Earls Court in London. With more than 450 real ales, ciders and beers there will be something to please every palate. Small microbreweries, large regional brewers and beer makers from around the world will all be showcasing their finest tipples. The event is organised by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and there will be stalls selling food, beer-related merchandise (books, glasses, T-shirts etc) and musical entertainment. Enjoy all that is great about British beer from 3rd to the 7th August at Earl's Court, London.

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The festival has undergone a re-organisation this year with the 12 regional bars offering their own drinks to try, including regional real ales, vegetarian and organic beer, real cider and perries.

The main exhibition hall will become one huge bar staffed by people who know a thing or two about pulling and drinking beer. You will be able to try before you buy and sup on halves rather than downing pints, after all, there's a lot of beer to try.

Drinking cask ales is becoming increasingly popular and the organisers will be hoping to improve on their record of serving 125 pints per minute over the five days of the festival.

Each of the bars will be named after military heroes including Harris, Nelson, Dobbs and Mountbatten. This is to reflect this year's designated charity, the Royal British Legion.

As well as announcing the Champion Beer of Britain Award, there will also be news on real ale consumption with a specific focus on consumers' views on how cask ale is marketed. If you are really keen you can learn more about beer and how to find the best brews around by signing up to one of the tutored tastings.

There's a great programme of live music to enjoy at the Great British Beer Festival and if you get hungry you can sample all kinds of delicious dishes that include game burgers, pies, curries and gourmet vegetarian food.

This year is a family friendly Beer Festival. CAMRA is providing a family room with children's entertainers, video games, toys and table football, as well as soft drinks, snacks and sweets. The family room is free to everyone under 18 and stays open until 9pm.