MORE than 6,000 people visited the Beer on the Wye festival over the weekend drinking 22,000 pints between them.

The two-and-a-half day event in a marquee at Hereford's Rowing Club was opened by Channel 4’s Ciderologist Gabe Cook on Friday afternoon.

There were more than 320 different beers, ciders and perries on offer, as well as nine live acts on the festival stage.

Mark Haslam from organisers Herefordshire CAMRA said: “It was great to see such a diverse crowd enjoying themselves. Moreover, we are so fortunate to have such a beautiful venue, but we are equally fortunate to have a wonderfully friendly and laid-back atmosphere.”

This year the festival hosted the CAMRA West Midlands Cider and Perry of the Year competitions.

The winning cider went to a small Herefordshire producer Roger Pinnell from Upper Dormington with his medium-sweet Mayfayre Cider at 5.5% alcoholic strength.

Perry of the Year went to John Barker from Hallow, near Worcester, for his Victorian Orchard Perry - a medium perry at 6.5% alcoholic strength.

Voted Champion Beer of the Festival was Five a Day IPA from Brewsmith, a micro-brewery based at a pub in Ramsbottom, near Bury in Greater Manchester.

Runner-up and named Herefordshire Beer of the Year was Beer on the Wye from Wye Valley Brewery. The eponymous 4% strength brew was conceived especially for the festival by the Stoke Lacy-based brewer, and was brewed using elderflowers hand-picked by managing director Vernon Amor and head brewer Gareth Bates.

The event was set up and run by a team of more than 120 volunteers.

Mark added: “I salute all the volunteers for giving up their time to make the festival such a success. Without their commitment and effort there would be no Beer on the Wye.”

Next year’s Beer on the Wye will be held over the weekend of July 5 to 7.