AS local beer lovers prepare to go hopping mad for hop-filled beers at this weekend’s Poole Beer Festival, the Daily Echo takes a look back at one of the first events of its kind to hit the area.

Fun flowed, as did the beer, when enthusiasts sampled traditional brews from around the country at the Real Ale Oktoberfest on October 29, 1999.

There was a roaring trade in lesser-known brews such as Skull Splitter from the Orkney Islands and Moorhouse’s Pendle Witches Brew.

The two-day festival - the first ever of its kind in Poole - was organised by members of East Dorset Campaign for Real Ale.

Proceeds from the event were donated to the Daily Echo and Advertiser-backed Ladybird Appeal which helped raise £1.3 million for a breast cancer unit at Poole Hospital.

The Rev Stephen Lake, who agreed to the use of St Aldhelm’s church community hall in Branksome, dropped by to whet his whistle.

He said “This is just their first session but it has gone very well - lots of folk from our church bought tickets and they are a really nice crowd.”

Brewing in Dorset dates back hundreds of years and one of the oldest companies - Hall and Woodhouse, which began in 1777 - helped sponsor the event.