Three decades for Atherton's Bent ‘n’ Bongs beer festival

Our beer expert Andrew Nowell takes a look at an annual celebration of booze that has stood the test of time...
Andrew NowellAndrew Nowell
Andrew Nowell

One of the borough’s most popular beer events just keeps rolling along as it celebrates a major milestone.

The Bent ‘n’ Bongs Beer Bash is again preparing to welcome ale fans through its doors in Atherton for its 30th edition.

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The time-honoured elements of this popular community-minded event are once again in place for the celebration of three decades of great pints and helping local causes.

The festival will be held in the unusual and quirky surroundings of Atherton Roller Rink, following the loss of its long-time home Formby Hall.

The punters have kept flooding through the doors of the new venue regardless and the loyal legions of Bent ‘n’ Bongs drinkers are expected to be out in force again between January 31 and February 2.

Brian Gleave, who organises the real ale element of the festival, said: “We’re looking forward to another great do. There’s always a really good atmosphere.

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“Thirty years is a big thing. Atherton has changed a lot in that time but the festival is the town’s biggest event for sure.

“I was out in Atherton at the weekend and everybody was talking about it.

“We’vev also raised more than £460,000, with a lot of that going to local charities and good causes.”

There will be more than 70 real ales on the bars of the roller rink, with local brewers well represented alongside more far-flung products.

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A number of perennial favourites which make it to Bent ‘n’ Bongs every year, including Sarah Hughes Ruby Mild, pale ale Jarl by Scottish concern Fyne Ales and Exmoor Gold, will also be there.

One of the biggest differences is the addition of craft beer, with 10 exciting British products from cutting-edge makers available on keg and key keg.

They will join around 20 drinks from overseas on the ever-popular foreign beer bar.

There is also a packed entertainment line-up, with the Brasswurst Bavarian Brass Band bringing a bit of Oktoberfest oompah to the opening Thursday night and The Three playing on Friday.

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Cracked Flag will make their annual Saturday appearance before the Gin Pit Rock Band bring the festival to a close.

As ever an array of food stalls will help drinkers soak up the booze and collections will be made for charity.

Admission is £3 on Thursday between 6pm and 11pm and £6 for the Friday 4pm until 11pm session and on Saturday from noon until 9pm. Find out more at