Are you ready for Burnley Beer Festival?

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I think it is rather appropriate and timely to highlight a special event in the locality for this month’s beer ramble.

Roll up, roll up, as Burnley holds its second beer extravaganza at the Mechanics, in Manchester Road, from Thursday to Saturday. An event where much jollity and slurred words will be in evidence!

The three-day festival is organised by East Lancashire CAMRA, a fine body of dedicated and passionate souls, who will guarantee an excellently run even for the discerning – and not too discerning – beer drinkers.

I do have to admit I have the occasional pop at CAMRA. They do frustrate me from time to time, with their blinkered views on areas, ripe for modernisation – and being reluctant to move more into the electronic age.

It always amazes me when some CAMRA members, only some, think they have become an authority on beer, as soon as their membership card hits the doormat. Some of the comments you hear in the pub really do amuse and bewilder me – many other pub regulars, being most bemused at their antics at the bar – but that’s another topic of discussion.

That said, CAMRA always do a good job at running beer festivals. East Lancashire’s branch of volunteers have carved out an excellent reputation in the locality, with the Pendle Beer Festival in Colne, for example, becoming one of the most anticipated beer celebrations on the national festival calender.

Times have certainly changed at local beer festivals. Not too long ago, it was all aging males, with beards, beer bellies and rucksacks!

Women were non-existant. You would have had a better chance of seeing Lord Lucan riding into the beer hall on Shergar!

Now you will witness a far better age range – more women and younger people eager to sample the delights of cask-conditioned beers, ciders and perries.

Mind you, the beards, beer bellies and North Face rucksacks are still very much in evidence!

The Burnley Beer Festival will have approximately 90 real ales – and will boast an excellent choice of continental beers. Many of the beers will be from local brewers – and the organisers have attracted a superb range for their patrons to choose from.

Festivals give you a chance to sample ales that are not normally showcased or readily available in local pubs and clubs – and Burnley’s temporary “Beer Mecca” will give you that opportunity. The free programme will highlight all the ales on parade - along with tasting notes and strengths.

The three-day celebration is fast approaching – and lots of hard work and planning is about to come to fruition.The volunteers at the festival will give you a warm, friendly welcome – and will always be prepared to give you advice on beer selection and offer you a taster.

So, East Lancs CAMRA hope to see you at the Mechanics from noon on Thursday, through to Saturday evening. I will be the mature geezer – the one with the beard, beer belly and wearing a fedora, tank-top pully and a tweed jacket, with leather patches on the elbows!