Bent ‘n’ Bongs Beer Bash gets under way

The 2016 Bent 'n' Bongs Beer Bash at the Atherton Roller Rink

The 2016 Bent 'n' Bongs Beer Bash at the Atherton Roller Rink

Real ale fans are once again flocking to the borough as one of the biggest local celebrations of all things hopped is under way.

The 28th edition of the Bent ‘n’ Bongs Beer Bash opened last night (Thursday) at the Atherton Roller Rink with enthusiasts sampling more than 70 different beers and a host of other drinks from independent producers.

Everyone seems to have loved the slightly quirky atmosphere at the roller rink so far

Brian Gleave

Now settled in its home at Atherton Roller Rink following the loss of long-time location Formby Hall, the festival runs until Saturday evening.

The town has been transformed into something of a beer Mecca, with supporting pubs running their own mini-festivals, and there is also a serious point to the revelry with thousands of pounds being raised for local charities.

Brewers from across the country have sent their ales to Atherton, with many of the drinks corresponding to this year’s astronomy theme, and the organisers say the unusual retro atmosphere in the rink has proved a hit with drinkers.

Bent ‘n’ Bongs trustee Brian Gleave said: “Last year’s first festival at the rink following the demise of Formby Hall went very well, the feedback we had was tremendous.

“You’ve got the disco lights and the netting that’s used when they play roller hockey in there, it all adds to the slightly quirky atmosphere. Everyone seems to have loved it so far.”

As well as regional ale favourites, there is also an extensive choice of foreign beers, real ciders and perries and, for the first time this year, a gin bar and prosecco on draught.

Bands will take to the roller rink’s stage to provide the soundtrack to the eating and drinking, with favourites including Cracked Flag and the Juke Box Heroes on the line-up.

The festival is also one of the area’s biggest annual charity fund-raisers, with thousands of pounds donated to good causes from the spare leftover tokens and the proceeds of the stalls.

This year’s money will be divided among several charities in the borough.

The Beer Bash runs tonight (Friday) from 4pm to 11pm, with entry £5, and tomorrow (Saturday) from noon to 9pm, priced £6. Admission includes a glass and Camra members get a £1 discount.