BILBERRY Dambuster, Swinging Gibbet and Infestation were all being sampled and enjoyed as Huddersfield's third annual Oktoberfest beer festival got under way.

Real ale drinkers packed into Greenhead Masonic Hall in Greenhead Road to sample 78 beers from around Europe, many of them being brewed in Kirklees.

Modelled on Munich's world famous Oktoberfest, the two-day beer festival, which ends tonight, is a showcase for the region's micro breweries.

Organisers from Huddersfield and District Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) shipped in 5,000 pints in all.

With about 1,100 visitors expected, connoisseurs have been doing their level best to sample as many as possible.

Cider, perry and bottled beer are also on offer to tempt tasters as well as Huddersfield's own Splash wines.

The event was opened by TV sports commentator John Shires.

Bob Tomlinson, chairman of Huddersfield and District Camra, has been to the Oktoberfest 10 times.

"We are hoping to give the drinker some styles not normally available," he explained.

"Here people get a chance to taste all different styles. This is more of an exhibition than a beer festival."

Camra has 75,000 members, making it the biggest consumer organisation in Europe.

And consume they did, although Bob stressed the group advocates moderate drinking.

"It's about promoting sensible drinking and promoting the pub as a social area," he said.

Other attractions included a stall featuring beer mats, clothes, books, pump clips and trinkets connected with pub life.


Some of the beers on offer:

* Bilberry Dambuster (Riverhead Brewery) - 4.0% abv (alcohol by volume)

* Swinging Gibbet (Jarrow Brewing Co.) - 4.1% abv

* Old Tosser (Oxenhope Moorland) - 5.0% abv

* Stairway To Heaven (Burton Bridge - 5.0% abv

* Infestation (Rat and Ratchet) - 5.0% abv

* Land of the Midnight Sun (Kelham Island) - 8.0% abv

A pint of stout? That'll be £13.98

A NEW beer which costs as much as a good bottle of wine is due to go on sale in shops.

The beer, called Dogfish Head World Wide Stout, is £6.99 for a half pint.

But supermarket chain Safeway, which is exclusively stocking the brand, claims that, despite its beer origins, it is best enjoyed at the end of a meal in the same way as port.

The first batch is designed to stay at its best until 2010 and its alcohol-by-volume strength is 21%.

Dogfish Head World Wide Stout comes from a micro brewery in the US state of Delaware.

The list of ingredients used to make it include chocolate malt, roasted barley, rolled oats and rice hulls, followed by a seven-month fermentation process.

The first bottles have begun arriving on the shelves at Safeway and will eventually be sold in 220 stores across the UK.

Safeway beer expert Glenn Payne said: "This is a beer that demands respect and is quite simply a testament to the brewer's art. It is as far from `session drinking' as can be imagined."