There's one ale of a time to be had at Beer Festival!

Story by Jack Foley

THE Campaign For Real Ale (South West London) is proud to present the 13th Battersea Beer Festival, 2003.

Taking place at Battersea Grand Hall, on Lavender Hill, from February 5 to 7, the event promises over 100 Real Ales, Ciders and Perries from across Britain, together with Foreign Beers and Food.

Last year's event was a huge success, with beer bellies, occasional drinkers, and pub regulars flooding through the doors for the chance to try out some different brews.

A beer not normally available on draught, but provided especially for the occasion, was Young's Double Chocolate Stout, which was voted Beer of the Festival 2002, while second prize went to Blackpool BPA and third to Pictish Brewers Gold. Also making the running were Crouch Vale Snowdrop, Fenland Fract, Oakleaf Bitter and Triple F Moondance.

The result of the vote for the Branch Pub of the Year for 2001 was announced on the Thursday afternoon of the festival, and was The Sultan, the Hop Back Brewery pub in South Wimbledon, followed by Young's Old Sergeant in Garratt Lane, Wandsworth.

In third place was the Rose & Crown, the Greene King pub in Clapham Old Town, and fourth was the Brewery Tap in Wimbledon Village, a former Whitbread house, now part of the Laurel Pub Company. These two pubs both serve a range of various guest beers.

You will have to visit the festival to find out which pubs and beers are in the running for this year's awards.

The event takes place from noon until 11pm, so get their early, line your stomach and prepare for a day (or three) of hard drinking!

13th Battersea Beer Festival, February 5 to February 7, Wednesday to Friday, from noon to 11.00pm. Battersea Grand Hall, Lavender Hill, London SW11. (Behind Battersea Arts Centre, Battersea Old Town Hall). 10 minutes walk from Clapham Junction Station.
Admission £2 (£3 after 5pm), Wednesday £1 before 5pm. There is a £1 discount for CAMRA members at all times.