BEER lovers flocked to a pub, a distillery and even a church this weekend to worship at the altar of locally-brewed booze.

As this year’s Oxford Beer Week got under way, boozy parties were held across the county, all of them helping to put Oxfordshire firmly on the beer map.

The annual seven-day shindig aims to celebrate all that’s good in the local beer scene and raise the profile of drinks being brewed in our fair county.

Read again:

'Four coach loads' of footballs fans descend on one Oxfordshire pub

Representatives from ten breweries joined the opening party at The Oxford Artisan Distillery (TOAD) in South Park on Saturday, where guests sampled local beers while chatting to the people who made them.

Banbury Cake:

Organiser James Clarke said: “The event came about because of renewed interest from people in beer and food, and that they wanted to know where it came from.”

He explained the Beer Week team were hoping to establish Oxford as a ‘beer city’ similar to Sheffield, Bristol and Manchester.

Read also:

Illegal rave shut down by police

He said: “Oxford should be on the map.”

Giovanna Monterio, who works at TOAD, explained that despite the distillery specialising in spirits, not beer, it was important that they work alongside breweries to make Oxford known for its drinks.

She said: “We are a community: we make spirits, these guys make amazing beers. For us to say that we work together is very important.

“The event is about celebrating local beers.”

Banbury Cake:

Punters at the Perch beer festival in Binsey on Saturday.

The call to make Oxford a beer Mecca comes after figures obtained by the Oxford Mail last year from the Office for National Statistics showed the number of licensed premises has declined dramatically across the county since 2010.

As of August, the county had lost 135 pubs in just eight years: South Oxfordshire lost the most, at 45, while Oxford city had lost 15.

Read again:

New figures reveal the extent of pub closures across Oxfordshire

Landlords and campaigners said the figures showed the need to take urgent action to protect remaining pubs and support plans to re-open closed locals before they were lost for good.

Helping to raise the profile of pubs and local beer, this year’s Oxford Beer Week will run until Sunday, and will feature other beer festivals, comedy nights, ‘beer trails’ and live music events.

Banbury Cake:

Jamie Wallis and Rebecca Leight at the Perch.

Elsewhere in the city this weekend, the Perch pub in Binsey officially opened its new dining area at its annual beer and cider festival.

The three-day event at the historic pub, which continues today, boasts 50 different beers, ales, ciders and lagers – most of them sourced from Oxfordshire and neighbouring counties.

Meanwhile in West Oxfordshire hundreds of thirsty pilgrims flocked to St Mary’s Church for the eighth annual Witney Beer Festival.

The event on Saturday saw locals and visitors crammed into the hall and spilling out on to church green while sampling more than 60 different beers and ciders and enjoying live music.

Banbury Cake: