THE BIGGEST, beeriest booze-up in Wantage is back.

The eighth Wantage Beer Festival will take over the town’s Beacon civic hall on Friday and Saturday, March 16 and 17.

This year’s festival will feature 28 ales, five ciders and two perries selected by branch members, many from breweries in the Vale of White Horse and Oxfordshire.

As with last year’s revived revelry, this year’s event will tie in with rugby’s Six Nations ‘super Saturday’.

Festival organisers from the White Horse branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) have even worked with Milton’s LoveBeer brewery to create a special Six Nations-themed beer for the occasion dubbed Nice Try.

The microbrewery, which won last year’s Beer of The Festival award for its Hair of the Doug, invited members to create a limited-edition libation which turned out to be a five per cent traditional-style bitter.

Other beers will include India Pale Ales, mild, porter, spiced and sour beers.

Branch chairman Ian Winfield said he was keen to build on the success of last year’s even where 620 ale addicts flocked to the fun.

He added: “For me the main point is that everyone has a good time.

“Streaming the rugby last year worked great, so we’re showing three games this year on Saturday.”

This year’s festival will see two innovations – firstly, live music on the Friday night from Wantage’s own Al Jenkins, and secondly punters will be able to buy pints for the first time.

What’s more, for just £2 festival-goers will be able to take home their rugby-themed souvenir glasses sponsored by Wantage’s Royal Oak pub.

Mr Winfield said he was also keen to use the knees-up to try and recruit more members for his branch

He said: “It’s all about raising people’s awareness of CAMRA, which is going through its own revitalisation project at the moment.”

The festival will open on Friday, March 16, at 11am, and local brewers will be meeting visitors throughout the afternoon.

Friday evening will see the presentation of this year’s White Horse branch awards with Mayor of Wantage Steve Trinder.

Saturday will also run from 11am to 11pm with rugby on throughout the afternoon.

Admission will cost £2 on both days or £3 after 5pm on Friday. CAMRA members will get in free.

The festival also raises money for Wantage’s October Club Alzheimer’s charity and the branch is hoping to smash last year’s total of £300.

The beer festival was kicked out of the Beacon in 2014 and led a nomadic existence until returning last year.