FANS of real ale will be wending their back to school again when the Skipton Beer Festival starts today, Thursday.

For the third time, the festival takes place in the refectory at Ermysted's Grammar School, with its easy accessibility to public transport links a factor in the success of previous years, organisers have said.

This year's 11th festival, under the auspices of the Campaign for Real Ale, features around 75 beers, with 25 breweries from the three Yorkshire Ridings, including Bridgehouse, Bingley, Dark Horse, North Riding, Timothy Taylor and Vocation.

As usual, there will also be a selection of real ciders and perries as well as a range of bottled foreign beers.

Food from Skipton-based caterers Drake and Macefield is available at all sessions, over today, tomorrow, and Saturday.

Denny Cornell-Howarth, of organisers the Keighley and Craven CAMRA branch, said: "Our previous two festivals at Ermysted's have been very popular with locals and tourists alike, and with the venue’s location close to rail and transport links, and within easy walk of the town centre, we are hoping that once again people will come and see what a wide range of beer style and flavours are on offer.”

Also as in previous years, local charities will benefit, with proceeds this year going to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Volunteers from the organisation will be on hand on the Friday night to explain its work.

The sessions are 3pm to 10pm today, 11am to 10pm tomorrow, and 11am to 10pm on Saturday.

Admission costs £2 on Thursday and Friday lunch until 4pm; £3 on Friday after 4pm and Saturday until 6pm (free after 6pm) and the event is free to card-carrying CAMRA members at all sessions. There are no advance tickets.