HUNDREDS of beer fans are set to 'pour' into Glasgow as the city hosts its first real ale festival for 18 years, writes Craig Gibson.

The Glasgow Real Ale Festival begins today at the Briggait, in the Merchant City, and will offer more than 120 different brands of beer over three days.

The event is run by the ­Glasgow branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and is a ­labour of liquid love for joint organiser Kenny Hannah.

His aim is tempt the city's drinkers to widen their horizons beyond the usual pint of lager and bag of nuts.

Mr Hannah said: "Traditionally in Glasgow, many people have looked at alcohol as just something that gets them drunk. This festival is about much more than that.

"It's about savouring the taste of real ales and understandng how good they taste, especially as an accompaniment to different kinds of food

"Real ale is becoming really popular and I think we could welcome 2000 people to the festival over the three days."

In recent years, Glasgow beer fans had to travel to Paisley if they wanted to visit a real ale festival nearby.

The Briggait event is an attempt by the Glasgow CAMRA branch to offer an alternative in the heart of the city.

Mr Hannah said: "We've looked at the Paisley event with envy for years now.

"The Renfrewshire branch of CAMRA is smaller than Glasgow's yet they manage to attract 5000 visitors to their event.

"About a year ago, we decided that we wanted to emulate, and ultimately better, Paisley's success."

The festival will offer a selection of ales from Scottish breweries as well as English ales and German bottled beers and there's little danger of anyone going thirsty with organisers stocking up on 7500 pints of

real ale and 400 litres of real cider.

And the event will also see the launch of a new Glasgow brewery. The Jaw Brewery, which is based in Hillington, will pour its first pints at the Briggait.

Organisers are hopeful the event will help banish what they say are outdated and incorrect stereotypes of real ale drinkers as older gentlemen with pot bellies, sandals and big woolly jumpers.

Indeed, Mr Hannah said CAMRA's membership in Glasgow has many members under the age of 30 and around 25% of the volunteers at this weekend's event are women.

He added: "The old image of a real ale drinker is completely outdated and wrong.

"We've got a team of volunteers at the Briggait event who can't wait to share our passion for beer with the public.

"I'm really excited and this is just the start of our bid to bring the beauty of real ale to the ­people of Glasgow.

"We want to make the festival bigger and better every year."

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