I've been to many Real Ale festivals in the last few years. Small ones - such as Newbury - take place in the summer and allow one to sit on a deck chair, supping a beer while watching cricket. Behemoths - like the Great British Beer Festival - take place in vast, anonymous venues like Earl's Court; although the range of beers on offer makes up for the bland surroundings.
Woking falls comfortably in the middle. Ironically, it takes place in a temple to health and fitness - Woking Leisure Centre. What makes Woking Beer Festival so special, though, is the atmosphere. Without a doubt, the star attraction is Len Rawle playing the Wurlitzer Organ. Several hundred Wokingers carousing like demented Vikings is simply magical.
Two things disappointed me during the day. Firstly, drinks were only available in half or full pints. The GBBF had 1/3rd glasses. This was an excellent idea which meant that you could sample more varieties of beers and - if you found one you didn't like - you didn't waste too much of it.
Secondly, while there were more ciders on offer than ever before, the tasting notes were rather sparse. While each beer got a sentence in the show guide, ciders and perrys were relegated to name only.
I AudioBoo'd throughout the day - for your edification and delight, here are the highlights.