HUNDREDS of beer buffs steamed into Chappel as a winter beer festival returned to the East Anglian Railway Museum.

The festival was back after being called off last year because of the pandemic.

Tickets were limited to 150 a session so an extra day was added last Thursday and most sessions quickly sold out.

Visitors quaffed hundreds of pints in the Victorian Goods Shed and old train carriages.

Steph Jiggins had travelled all the way from Manchester to go to the festival with brother Ben, from Cressing.

She said: "Ben has raved about this beer festival for ages, so it's great to be here."

Jonny Hamblin, manager of Sudbury's Brewery Tap pub, jumped on the train for the short rail journey to Chappel with pals Bernie and Mary Ann Stevenson, and sheepdog Silver Adder.

Bernie said: "We love it. We moved to Sudbury last year and are always desperate to get on the train and come to the festival."

Dave and Sheila Garrett made the trip from Witham with miniature schnauzer pet pooch Betsy.

"It's great," said Dave. "I've been coming here regularly for years. I think I've got about 30 souvenir glasses so it's great to see the festival is back."

The festival is run by the museum and Campaign for Real Ale and featured more than 60 beers, ciders and perries from across East Anglia.

They included tipples from Essex breweries in Wakes Colne, Gosfield, Coggeshall, Shalford, Braintree, Colchester, and Southminster.

Organiser Brendan Sothcott said: "It's been our first winter beer festival for two years.

"We had to downsize a lot because of the Covid restrictions which were lifted too late to get back to full size, but we are running again and it's gone really well.

"We are looking to sell out of beer eventually so we got the numbers right and the beer right."