An opening address by the bishop lent an ecclesiastical angle to this year’s CAMRA beer festival which, fittingly, also offered Absolution – a strong pale bitter from Sheffield’s Abbeydale brewery.
This year’s event, which ran until close of play on Saturday night, boasted 125 real ales, ciders, perries and fruit wines, including offerings from all five of the island’s breweries.
Addressing an already enthusiastic and vocal crowd at the festival’s opening public session, the Right Reverend Robert Paterson told them: ‘When I was asked to come and do this I wondered what people would think of the bishop opening a beer festival. I looked in the Bible for inspiration and found that Jesus was a friend of publicans and sinners so I thought I could follow that example and get some practice in tonight.’
This year’s charity ale, produced by Bushy’s is Airmed Ale, and a donation goes to the Rob Vine Fund, which pays for medical equipment used at motorsport events and in the rescue helicopters, for each pint sold.
‘It is a great privilege to pull the first pint of Airmed Ale and it is worth remembering that 850 people have been airlifted by the helicopter in the 29 years it has operated,’ Bishop Paterson said.
‘It’s also a privilege to be here and if anyone asks what the bishop was doing at the festival, just tell them he favours responsible drinking.’
A range of local bands and musicians provided the entertainment on Friday and Saturday.