SCOTLAND’S best and now biggest real ale event returns to Troon next month.

The 20th Ayrshire Real Ale Festival organised by the Ayrshire & Wigtownshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) runs from Thursday, October 3 until Saturday, October 5.

It will showcase more than 160 real ales on two bars. In the main hall the bar will feature 50 Scottish beers all served by handpump with a further 70 beers from elsewhere in the UK being served by gravity straight to your commemorative glass.

The popular-themed bar in the adjoining Walker Hall will this year be known as the Borders Bar – featuring breweries and 40 beers that have been brewed in the border counties of these islands. The festival will also be hosting CAMRA’s Champion Beer of Scotland competition for the first time – the winner will be announced on Friday afternoon. Additionally, the festival will showcase one of Scotland’s best ciders along with other traditional ciders and perries from the UK. Wine, Prosecco and soft drinks will also be available. Catering will again be provided by Brownings the Bakers of Kilmarnock. Thursday evening sees a ‘first’ for the festival when there will be a short display of Morris Dancing by the Border Reivers Dancers. On the Friday night, Big Slinky will perform on stage, whilst on Saturday up-and-coming youngsters The Best Bad Influence will entertain everyone The pipe band returns on Saturday afternoon and will play regular slots.

Doors open to the public at 2pm on the Thursday , with a preview for CAMRA members from noon, and 11am on the Friday and Saturday. Admission is £7 (£5 CAMRA). Under 25s are £5 on the Thursday, and anyone entering after 7pm on Saturday will get in for half price.