The 5th Old Town Beer and Cider festival took place on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th May in the church at Christ Church. This is the first time that we have introduced an extra day and we increased our numbers in attendance by nearly double the amount of people to 1100 this year.
There were double the amount of beers and ciders with the Chocolate Amaretto Guerilla winning the vote for the top beer. The Monkey Mango was the top ranked cider.
The event was officially opened by Sam Bullas of the Swindon Wildcats who signed autographs and sampled the beer appropriately named "Wild Cat".
Organiser Chris Smith said "there was a real buzz about the place, with people finding it to be surreal drinking whilst sitting in a pew".
The first ever Friday evening session took off without a hitch and there were people enjoying themselves right up until closing time. The Swindon rotary club ran the bar for us that evening and we would like to give special thanks for their support.
We have again been lucky to acquire sponsorship from a number of local businesses and the main event was sponsored jointly for the second year running by the Hop Inn and Los Gatos.
The beer made especially for the festival by Three Castles brewery was named "Lupulo Gold". Lupolo means Hops in Spanish which is named very cleverly after our joint sponsors Los Gatos the Spanish Tapas and the Hop Inn pub.
The Saturday was the busiest yet with extra people coming in the evening to what is normally the quiet part of the festival.
This year we supported Phoenix Enterprises who are an independent social enterprise whose commercial activities support training and employment opportunities for people in the Swindon area with mental health issues. They made nearly £300 through the selling of their raffle tickets.
The Rotary club of Swindon Old Town were also in attendance and were able to make £400 by selling ducks for their famous duck race which takes place on 29th May at Westcott Recreation Ground (opposite the Runner's Pub), Wootton Bassett Road, Swindon.
Food was again provided by our local butchers "Wilsons" and for the first time were joined by Il Capricorno who sold some excellent pizzas and other Italian food. To supplement this the Friends of Christ Church served an excellent selection of rolls!
On the Sunday there was the traditional Beer and Hymns service which was the most attended to date with around 70 people there. It was great to see quite a few younger couples in the church who were also able to help with the set down at the end.