ESSEX ale lovers warmed their cockles as they enjoyed a plethora of great pints at the Chappel Winter Beer Festival.

The event was staged at the East Anglian Railway Museum at Chappel and Wakes Colne railway station.

While not as big as its summer counterpart, the festival was still busy with the throng of connoisseurs of ales enjoying a variety of pints.

Organiser Brendan Sothcott said: “We’ve done this for 11 years now.

“It’s gone really well and nearly sold out of beer.”

He added: “It’s the small cousin of the big festival in September which has been going for 34 years.

“It’s about a third of the size but it’s still very popular.”

Hosted at the museum’s heated Victorian goods shed, the event was said to be a “much calmer” and cosier affair than the summer version with the beer providing a perfect winter warmer.

The festival was organised by the Campaign for Real Ale and visitors enjoyed the full railway experience.

They had unlimited access to the museum giving them free rein to roam and explore the artefacts while enjoying some top notch ales.

Focusing on local beers, the festival offered a total of 75 different real ales.

The ales mainly hailed from East Anglia and included some from less well-known brewers making each drink a new experience.