Here for the beer - and the entertainment

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Sheffield’s ambition of being regarded as the UK’s capital of beer will be enhanced next week when brewers from across the country hold their conference in the city - alongside a beer festival.

The Society of Independent Brewers is holding its annual celebration of British beer - BeerX - in Sheffield for the second year running, from Tuesday to Saturday.

Last year it was at Ponds Forge; this year it is at the bigger venue of iceSheffield in Attercliffe, after SIBA organisers were delighted with Sheffield’s response.

Some 700 delegates and exhibitors - brewers, licensees and suppliers - are taking part in the showcase for the UK’s burgeoning independent brewing industry.

Speakers include Tim Martin, founder of JD Wetherspoon and Andrew Griffiths, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Beer.

Moreover, the event is being used to promote overseas sales. Government department UK Trade and Investment will be flying in buyers and representatives from Canada, America, Sweden, Serbia, Spain, South Africa, Croatia, Vietnam and Mexico.

But Beer X is also a chance for enthusiasts to sample 350 award-winning cask, bottled and keg beers at the Festival of Beer, which opens on Wednesday at 5.30pm.

Entertainment on the Friday night will be provided by local blues pianist Dale Storr, while ticket sales for the Saturday night were quickly boosted by 1,000 with the addition of Sheffield ukulele band the Everly Pregnant Brothers.

The Rugby Six Nations will be screened live on the Saturday.