As any dedicated real ale drinker will tell you beer festivals are the best invention since ... beer! Now in its ninth year, Plymouth Beer Festival, in association with CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) will feature more than 155 real ales and 63 Ciders/Perries. Boasting the largest selection of Cider and Perry in the South West, this year’s festival was officially opened by the Lord Mayor of Plymouth yesterday.

For the uninitiated, there is an opportunity to try a wide range of ales in a convivial setting. Many beer festivals also provide a number of ciders - Plymouth Beer Festival carries over 35 - and some includeother locally produced beverages such as ginger beers and fruit wines.New additions this year include a Foreign Beer Bar stocked with 29 of the best beers from around the world , 1/3 pint options which allow you to try the largest variety of beers and ciders and a new food menu to compliment the drinks.130 breweries will be represented this year from all over the UK. Once again the event will play host to the Champion Beer and Champion Cider of Britain 2012 regional heats with the winners going forward to the national finals.

This year more than 130 breweries will be represented from across the country Credit: ITV Westcountry

This evening (Saturday), the Plymouth Beer Festival boasts its biggest headliner in its history, Sir Bob Geldof will be performing solo material along with a few Boomtown Rats favourites.Free soft drinks will be available for designated drivers and visitors will be invited to leave any unused beer tokens or donate cash to the festivals’ charity, Breast Cancer Care.