There could only be one toast at this year’s Tynedale Beer and Cider Festival for those brave enough to sample the dark and mighty brew, Stalin’s Cow.

Weighing in at 10 per cent, this monster of an ale was described as an imperial chocolate milkshake, and if not treated with respect, could have had fearsome consequences – admittedly not as severe as getting on the wrong side of a certain Soviet dictator.

It was one of 130 beers at the festival; not to mention 31 ciders, wines, gins and rums. Then there was all the live music, children’s entertainment, rugby and plenty of food to soak up the ale at the event from Thursday to Saturday at Tynedale Park, Corbridge.

Tynedale Lions and Tynedale Rugby Club which organise the annual festival – which raises tens of thousands of pounds for charities – have got the recipe just right to ensure this is one of the districts’s most popular and successful events. The causes benefiting this year are North Tyne Youth, WECAN and Tynedale Hospice at Home.

Steve Hull, from Tynedale RFC estimated that at least 6,500 people turned up over the three days, quaffing 20,000 pints of beer and cider.

“When we emptied all the casks after the festival, there was not much left,” he said. “And we sold out of the rum and gin on the Saturday. The food was very well received and people were very complimentary about the sponsors’ buffet on the Thursday. Then we had other catering stalls on the Friday and Saturday.

“The glamping, provided by Dark Sky Glamping, was also very popular. We had 650 people camping.

“And the bands were good as well. We had a lot of compliments about them.”

As to the beers, one of the first to sell out was local brewery Allendale’s Adder Lager – perfect for a summer’s day despite an odd rain shower.

Chairman of the festival committee, Ian Cave from Tynedale Lions said the event could not exist in its present form without the help of volunteers.

“As well as volunteers from the rugby club and the Lions, we have the three main recipients we donate the money to and we get volunteers from them,” he said.

“And we have volunteers from Wetherspoons and Virgin Money through a scheme where they donate time to the local community. It is above and beyond. Some people do a few hours, some will do the three days.”