The number of microbreweries has risen sharply in the last two years - and the West Country is one of the craft ale hotspots. Ahead of the Bristol Beer Festival, six rival microbreweries in the city have combined to make a new, one-off beer. It is a Porter, a dark, strong beer that was popular in the 1800s.

People want more for their money these days. They have had enough of bland lager which tastes the same everywhere. They want great-tasting beer which has a story, a provenance."

There are still big threats to real ale. It still has an image problem - many believe it is the preserve of old, fat bearded men. But brewers say that's no longer the case. Many drinkers are younger, trendier, and view craft ales as 'old school' or 'retro' - which is 'cool.'

Bristol Beer Factory is producing more kegs of beer than ever before

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