Ale pours in for beer fest

The CAMRA Beer Festival opened today at the Marine Hall in Fleetwood, and runs through until Saturday evening.'CAMRA Regional Director Ray Jackson pulls a pint of Lytham Brewery's 'Pharos Light', created to celebrate the port's 175th birthday.   PIC BY ROB LOCK'102-2011

The CAMRA Beer Festival opened today at the Marine Hall in Fleetwood, and runs through until Saturday evening.'CAMRA Regional Director Ray Jackson pulls a pint of Lytham Brewery's 'Pharos Light', created to celebrate the port's 175th birthday. PIC BY ROB LOCK'102-2011

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The 30th Fleetwood Beer & Cider Festival takes place in the port’s Marine Hall next Thursday, Friday and Saturday, February 9 to 11.

More than 100 real ales will be on offer over the three days and as usual, the list is a canny mix of staple festival favourites and newer brews, with our own Fylde breweries strongly represented.

Among the ales making their Fleetwood debut is Green Jack Baltic Imperial Stout which, at 10.5%, may well be the strongest beer ever featured at the festival (unless some longer-standing – or should that be “almost standing” – devotees know different!).

This year, recognising the fact that real ale is gradually becoming more popular among younger drinkers, the festival will feature a Young Persons’ Bar (still strictly over-18s).

This section of the bar will include, among others, some flavoured ales that are a slight departure from more “traditional” beer styles, and which are often aimed at the younger market (though, of course, all are welcome to sample its wares).

Live music will, as usual, be a key feature of the festival. On Friday night, versatile pop/rock covers band The Versions make a welcome return to the Fleetwood stage. On Saturday night, the veteran Blackpool rockers The Heat make their festival debut.

* The first Jazz At the Crofters session of the year takes place on Sunday at the hotel situated on the A6 at Cabus, near Garstang. The guests are a band which played and entertained regulars last year – the newly formed Merseysippi Jazz Band.

Another popular band returns by request on Sunday, March 4 – Ray Potts’ Five & Penny.

Ted Taylor’s Dixielanders, a new band formed by pianist arranger Ted Taylor with star musicians Eddie Taylor, Chris Carty (Wigan`s premier jazz trumpet player), along with reed ace Harold Salisbury from Preston, bassist Dave Turner and Ryan Costello on drums, appears on Sunday, April 1.

The Sunday, May 6 session features The High Society Jazz Band and the first half of the year ends with a line-up organiser Derek Daniels has been trying to secure for the last three years – Peter Frank’s Jazz All Stars featuring top trumpet player Ian Royle.

* They say life begins at 40 – and Melanie Fish is about to find out why!

Businessman husband Simon Fish, the man behind recent Adam & Eve and Hacienda revival nights in Blackpool, has decided to give her a 40th birthday party with a difference – and invite absolutely everybody to join her for the occasion.

He has snapped up former Factory/Hacienda DJ legend and recent Blackpool Christmas Ball headliner Graeme Park to man the decks at Wicked Dancing (the former Adam & Eve club) on Chapel Street for a special “all invited” party on Friday, February 17.

“The last couple of events have been such good fun and such successes that I decided to do it all over for Melanie’s birthday,” said Simon. “It’s a night for old and new friends and lovers of the music made famous in the Hacienda days.”

Along with Graeme will be DJ’s I’ll House You, Tha Gods, Greg Mahon, Green Bins and others.

Admission is free, everyone is welcome and the event runs from 10pm to 4am.

More details from 07859 932731.