Real Ale & Cider Festival in Dorset's county town!

Not long until the return of our annual beer festival!

It’s not long now until the return of the annual Dorchester Beerex held in the Corn Exchange, Dorchester and organised by members of West Dorset Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and Dorchester Casterbridge Rotary Club. The festival takes place over 4 sessions starting Friday February 2nd lunchtime and evening and Saturday 3rd respectively. The committee are delighted the local Cerne Abbas brewery are continuing their support for the event as main festival sponsors and the owners will be on hand over the weekend for a drink and chat alongside a selection of the beers they brew including a festival “one off”, Vic’s Secret, a 4.6% fruity pale ale. A total of over 100 cask ales and ciders will be on offer for customers to sample including local Dorset breweries such as Eight Arch of Wimborne with their Corbel IPA, Gyle 59 with a robust “The Favourite”; Porter, Palmers of Bridport with the award winning TallyHo!, and the new Big Dig brewery near Winterborne Kingston with Duropolis Rising IPA.

Also to feature will be breweries from further afield such as Shiny and Pentrich from Derbyshire, Stewart from Scotland, Oakham from Cambridgeshire and former Champion Beer of Britain Surrey Hills brewery’s Shere Drop.

For cider drinkers there will be a traditional range such as Cranborne Chase Vintage and Dorset Nectar Wild Cat to the new wave of flavoured ciders with real fruit such as Twisted Cloudy Lemonade, Dorset Nectar Honey Bubble and from Herefordshire Pulp’s Martini Daiquiri which is flavoured with real strawberries.

The festival now in its 35th year has so far raised funds for worthy causes in excess of £248K with this year’s profits seeing the quarter of a million pound barrier smashed.

This year’s primary charity being Amelia’s Rainbow. Named after a Dorset girl Amelia-Grace Cooper who sadly lost her life to cancer, Amelia’s Rainbow supports children in Dorset and the surrounding area suffering from any terminal, life-limiting, serious and chronic illness. The charity gives support through raising funds for family days out, social activities such as swimming or dancing or any other request which benefits the child through fun, learning, achievement and play.

Charity Manager Farah Batchelor said “We are over the moon to be chosen as a recipient charity. We support so many families in Dorchester but we are still relatively unknown so we really appreciate this opportunity. Amelia’s Rainbow supports over 170 Dorset children who have serious illnesses or disabilities. Any donation this weekend will help fund our 2 holiday homes that grant 80 free holidays a year. We also provide events, experiences and gifts to enhance children’s play and learning. We’re small but mighty so your support is really appreciated by all at our charity.”

Beerex Committee Chairman Adrian Carey said “I feel honoured and privileged to be co-ordinating such a fantastic dedicated committee of people all looking forward to celebrating breaking through the quarter of a million pound mark .Beerex is proof that beer and cider can be associated with positive things, I am looking forward immensely to the Friday opening where I will be raising a glass to all who have volunteered or sponsored the event”.

Entertainment will see local musician Chris Davies performing a solo set on Friday evening accompanied with acoustic guitar and piano. Chris regularly plays covers from Elton John, Beatles and other popular mainstream artist alongside some of his own works. Saturday night sees back by popular demand That Britpop Band. Customers can be prepared to travel back to the glory days of the early 90’s with covers of Oasis, Blur, Supergrass and Ocean Colour Scene, not to be missed!

The festival relies on good will from local businesses, companies and individuals through barrel sponsorship. If you would like to help and be a valuable assistance to the festival please contact the festival barrel sponsorship co-ordinator Dave Harris via 07977 918130 or through the festival website

Tickets for the festival are a great way to shake off the winter blues and are available from the following outlets, priced at £11 which includes a free pint, souvenir glass and programme which includes the full beer menu with tasting notes.

Dorchester; the Convivial Rabbit, Tom Browns and Copper St Brewery Tap

Poundbury; The Brace of Butchers.

Weymouth; The Globe Inn.

or online at

L-R. Tom Dorrington, Thea Watts, Dave Watts, Dave Moon & Rachel Larkin. Thea said” We love coming to this event every year, I especially like the dark beers”. PHOTO CREDIT. Rich Gabe.
Dorchester Beerex 2023
Rachel Jones of Weymouth was the first customer through the door Friday lunchtime 2023, who will it be this year? PHOTO CREDIT. Rich Gabe.

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