ALE lovers have flocked to Colchester this week for the town’s annual beer festival.

The 29th Colchester Real Ale and Cider Festival began on Wednesday, with more than 120 beers on offer.

The festival is being held at Colchester Arts Centre, in Church Street, and finishes tomorrow night (Saturday).

Alan Wareham, chairman of the Colchester and North East Essex Camra group, said: “It is going very well. We had a very good opening day.

“The beer is selling very well.

“The weather is not fantastic, so there is not much in the way of al fresco drinking, but hopefully it will brighten up.

“We hope people will come in and pick up our local guide so they can go out and try real ales in pubs around the town.”

On Tuesday, traders got a sneak preview of the event before it opened to the public.

The beer festival, which also offers a range of ciders and wines, is raising money for the British Legion.

See today's Gazette for a full picture spread.