OTLEY has enjoyed another ‘outstanding’ annual Beer Festival.

Big crowds turned out for this year’s event at Otley Rugby Club on Friday, November 22 and Saturday, November 23. Visitors got to sample drinks from a wide-ranging selection that included 60 ales and seven keg beers along with ciders and perries.

Organisers Otley RATS (Real Ale Tasting Society), which had raised more than £98,500 for local charities and Otley Parish Church since 2002, were also hoping to push their total to beyond £100,000.

Speaking afterwards, festival Chair Jeff Utley MBE said: “We don’t know the final visitor numbers yet but we were very busy, particularly on the Friday, and though the proceeds are still being worked out we are confident we’ve taken our total fundraising total past £100,000.

“In fact new Otley brewery Shadow, run by Ian Shutt, supplied us with two beers and named one of them 100k in recognition of our fundraising.

“People were very positive about the beer selection and said it was even better than usual, and we had a lot more dark beers this year.”

Still working on the clearing up operation on Monday, he added: “We always need more volunteers, particularly to help with setting up and clearing away which takes two. We welcome new members and anyone interested can contact me by e-mailing jeff@otleybeerfestival.co.uk.”

Otley Town Mayor Councillor Peter Jackson was among those enjoying the occasion. He said: “I was delighted to attend. It was another successful year for the team and I would like to thank Jeff and all the volunteers for putting together this yearly event.

“Some really good beers were sourced to showcase over the weekend and the work involved to help raise funds for local charities is outstanding. This event has now raised more than £100,000 for worthy causes and all this is down to the dozen or so volunteers.”

Wilde Childe brewery won the Beer of the Festival - voted for by festival-goers - for the third year in a row for its Brownie Hunter, a 4.9 per cent chocolate fudge brownie stout.

Another beer on offer this year bore the unusual name of Punk Panther Ultra - named after the ultra-marathon running business run by local Councillor Ryk Downes, who sponsored the barrel.

He said: “The festival was wonderful. I sponsored a barrel and asked Paul Briscoe to make me a strong IPA and he did us proud with a fantastic beer.

“The rugby club was packed when I was there, almost to capacity, and the whole event was great with fabulous beer and company, plus good music. Thanks to the organisers and volunteers - and to Paul Briscoe for an excellent IPA.”

Otley Pub Club Chair, Rob Skinner, added: “It was another excellent beer festival - congratulations to Otley RATS for such a good event. We were delighted to be there enjoying great beer and company.”