A HUGE range of unique ales and ciders along with musical entertainment will be on offer at a special annual event which is being held in Troon next month.

The Campaign for Real Ale's (CAMRA) Ayrshire Real Ale Festival returns to Troon Concert Hall from Thursday, October 5 until Saturday, October 7.

The festival is taking place for the 18th time and this year there will be more than 150 real ales on offer as well as traditional cider and perry. Wine will also be available.

Lindsay Grant, chairman of the Ayrshire Real Ale Festival organising committee, said: “This year will see the biggest and best beer festival ever held in Ayrshire. Half the beers will be from Scotland and half from the rest of the UK. Look out for previous Champion Beer of Britain winners, Oakham Ales JHB, Kelham Island Pale Rider and at least seven other winners.”

Beer festival regulars will now be used to there being a second themed bar in the adjoining Walker Hall. This year the theme will be Counties. This includes the beers: RCH Blackberry Slug from Somerset and York Brewery Centurions Ghost from Yorkshire.

Doors open to the public at 2pm on the Thursday, with a preview for CAMRA members from noon. Admission is just £6 (£4 for CAMRA members) with free entry on subsequent visits on production of this year's festival glass. Under-25s will be admitted for £4 on the first day.

There will be live music on Friday night from Slider who played last year. Irvine and District Pipe Band will create a rousing atmosphere on the Saturday afternoon and Delta Smoak will be playing Country and Americana music at the festival on the Saturday night.

Lindsay Grant added: “Around the world, discerning drinkers are discovering a love of beer and real ale is craft beer at its best. The Ayrshire Real Ale Festival will be the best day or night out in the West of Scotland, offering fantastic beers that are not easily found in the area as well as the from our wonderful local breweries: the Ayr Brewing Company, the Five Kingdoms Brewery from the Isle of Whithorn and the Portpatrick Brewery.

"We will have lots of exciting new beers as well as some old favourites. No one who enjoys good beer or a good night out should miss it.”