Festival time

Stonehaven Real Ale Festival organisers Robert Lindsay and Joanne MacRae get ahead with planning this year's event that will feature a beer from every Scottish brewery.

Stonehaven Real Ale Festival organisers Robert Lindsay and Joanne MacRae get ahead with planning this year's event that will feature a beer from every Scottish brewery.

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REAL ale fans are being invited to take a tour of every brewery in Scotland ... without leaving Stonehaven Town Hall.

The hugely popular Stonehaven Real Ale Festival is back for a third year (November 3-5) and offering visitors the unique chance to sample an ale from every working brewery in the country under one roof.

Organiser Robert Lindsay said: “This really will be a celebration of the best in Scottish real ale and we plan to create a special atmosphere in the Town Hall over the three days of the festival.

“We will bring in the finest brews from the Highlands, the east coast, the west coast, central Scotland and the Borders.

“We are even creating a special bar upstairs for island breweries ... our own ‘Road To The Isles’ if you like, although some might think of it as a stairway to heaven, given the sheer quality of the beer on offer.”

“In all, there will be almost 70 ales on offer, giving people the chance to take a world tour of Scotland’s breweries without setting foot outside Stonehaven Town Hall.”

The Stonehaven festival has carved itself a reputation for more than just beer in its previous two outings and Robert is determined visitors will once again come away having had one of the best nights out of the year, confirming it as a highlight on the North-east calendar.

“We have great music, with our own entertainment director Iain “Skirlie” McFadden – well known in the North-east as a leading light in The Trybe – working hard to sign up the finest local musical talent to make sure the festival hits the high notes.

“The popular big screen, showing vintage Scottish films and programmes, will make a return, and we’ve looked out the stovies recipe that proved so popular last year.

“But what really makes this festival such a success is the people who come along. You couldn’t ask for better craic and friendlier banter.

“And they do come from far and wide. As well as folk from right across the North-east, we have had English, Irish and even Scandinavian visitors making the trip to enjoy our festival.”

Last year, the event attracted 2,000 people over three days and Robert is hoping to repeat that success again - for a good reason.

“The organisers are just a bunch of local real ale fans and we do this for fun, not for profit. The money we make will go to local charities. Last year, we raised £5,000 for MRI and we hope to give our community a similar boost this year.”