However, it takes more than rotten weather to stop our customers enjoying what has become one of the highlights of the city's social calendar. By the time Festival Organiser Shawn Marsh called an exhausted Last Orders on the Saturday, a record 30,059 had come through the doors (or flaps), over 800 up on last year. Between them they drank 70,000 pints of real ale plus copious quantities of foreign beer, traditional cider, British wine and mead.

An especially popular feature this year was the Cambridgeshire Bar, featuring 30 beers from the County's 8 breweries. It's really not that long ago that Elgoods were the County's sole brewer. Next door was the East Anglian Bar, with no less than 38 brewers from the rest of our region represented.

The Festival hosted, for the first time, the Cambridgeshire Beer of the Year competition, judged by an illustrious Panel of brewers, licensees and media folk. The winner was the fabulous Mompessons Gold from Oakham Brewery (which is actually in Peterborough). Elgoods Golden Newt was a close second and Cambridge Moonshine Nightwatch Porter third.

As always, the public also had their say in the Beer of the Festival contest where the overall winner was Adnams Tally Ho. This fearsome 7% barley wine is normally only available at Christmas time but Adnams had kindly held some back for us - and a "winter warmer" was just what was called for! In second place came Crab and Winkle Mild from the tiny brewery attached to the Railway Tavern pub in Brightlingsea, Essex. Two beers tied for third - Rockingham Terrific Pacific from just over the border in Northants and the coffee-flavoured Expresso Stout from Dark Star, Brighton.

As always, the Festival would have been impossible but for the valiant efforts of the many volunteer staff and our hugely grateful thanks go to all of them.

And now for a view from the inimitable Mr Brown!