THE beer is flowing at one of the region’s largest celebrations of real ale and cider.

First pints were pulled last night at the start of the 39th Durham Beer Festival, being staged for the second successive year at the city rugby club’s Hollow Drift clubhouse, on Green Lane, in Elvet.

Bar manager Nick Young said festival-goers have the choice of a range of 56 real ales, 12 Keykeg beers, plus 12 ciders and perries, many produced by regional brewers, with at least 30 on offer at any one time throughout the four days.

But he assured those thinking of visiting Saturday’s closing sessions that organisers from the Durham branch of the Campaign for Real ale (Camra) have ensured there will be sufficient back up supplies right through until ‘last orders’.

There is a £5 entry charge, which comes with a commemorative glass and a free half-pint token, or two for Camra and rugby club members with current membership cards.

Sessions run from 12-noon until 10.30pm today, tomorrow and Saturday.

Throughout the festival there will be regular screenings of Lonely Tower Film and Media’s documentary, A Passion for Vaux - Sunderland’s Lost Brewery, produced to mark the 20th anniversary of its closure.

Soft drinks and food are available.