The fifth Dark And Winter Ales Festival got off to a great start on Monday night (February 3) at the White Cross in Lancaster. Representatives of six breweries (Borough, Hardknott, Hawkshead, Kirkby Lonsdale, Lancaster and Old School) were present on a busy night as were many local CAMRA members and other keen ale-drinkers. Festival organiser Tim Tomlinson spoke of the main purpose of the Festival which was to celebrate the range and variety of the ales we now have available — a great contast with the situation when CAMRA was formed. He reeled off a long list of types of dark ale now on sale somewhere in the area, “including the oxymoronic black IPA". He thanked all the pubs and breweries involved. Eight cask dark ales from the aforementioned brewers were on the bar showing a tremendous variety of flavours. A couple of the brewers also brought along bottled beers including some that could only be described as “strong and interesting".