BEER and cider enthusiasts are getting ready for a four-day festival with 150 brews to enjoy.

The four-day South East Essex Camra 2019 Beer and Cider Festival will begin on Wednesday, November 20, but for many the build up began five weeks ago.

The festival is preceded by an ale trail involving 24 south Essex pubs and culminating in the festival at Freight House, Bradley Way, Rochford.

Campaign for Real Ale member Chris Rouse said: “It is the 40th festival and there will be 150 real ales and ciders.

“It is very popular.

“Last year we were so busy on the Friday night, we had long queues so this time on Thursday and Friday there will be an entrance charge.”

The festival will be free to attend from midday on Wednesday, Saturday and up to 5pm on Thursday and Friday, when a £2 charge will be introduced for the evening.

Last orders are 10pm.

Mr Rouse added: “It does seem things are going from strength to strength, but the tax on beer and cider and business rates means pubs are struggling.

“Festivals are very popular because of the number of different beers and ciders available that you cannot get and you would not see in the area.”

The festival will have four bars available including the East Anglia, national, craft and cider and perry bars.

Mr Rouse added: “Everyone has a common reason to be there - the beer and the cider - which creates a good atmosphere.

“You find the people who do come are very different and from all walks of life but they have this in common.

“I am looking forward to this year very much.

Doors open at midday on Wednesday, November 20.

Among those getting ready to attend are those who have been enjoying the real ale trail across south Essex since October 10.

Punters were invited to try an offering at six of the 24 locations included on the trail, get their beer passport signed, and receive a free pint and souvenir glass at the festival.

Participating venues can be found at and include hostelries from Billericay to Southend.