The Great British Beer Festival

The daddy of all beer festivals is back, and this time there’s extra reason to celebrate.

The Great British Beer Festival returns to London’s Olympia today and is marking 40 years since it started annually celebrating ales back in 1977.

Hosted by CAMRA — aka the Campaign for Real Ale — it is the biggest festival of its kind by some distance, with around 55,000 beer-lovers expected to glug their weight in the brewed stuff across its five-day run.

And there’s plenty to go round. The festival will stock more than 800 real ales, ciders and perries across more than 20 bars. The focus, as the name suggests, is always on Brit brews, but there are plenty of options from further afield too — in the past, Germany and Belgium have always had a good showing.

There are dozens of food stalls on hand to line stomachs and help you get through as much of the good stuff as possible. If you’ve got a pal who can’t put away the pints, they can come along too — this year’s festival is breaking new ground by featuring an English wine section for the first time. (AP)

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The Great British Beer Festival

Jail Ale is served at the Great British Beer Festival, August 8, 2017 in London, England. (Photo: Amer Ghazzal/REX/Shutterstock)

The Great British Beer Festival

Visitors wear social attire at the CAMRA Great British Beer Festival at Olympia London exhibition centre in London, Aug. 8, 2017 (Photo: Ray Tang/REX/Shutterstock)

The Great British Beer Festival

A pint is poured into a pitcher at the Great British Beer Festival, August 8, 2017 in London, England. (Photo: Amer Ghazzal/REX/Shutterstock)

The Great British Beer Festival

Hundreds of visitors sample 900 different real ales, craft beers international beers, ciders at the CAMRA Great British Beer Festival, August 8, 2017 in London, England. (Photo: Amer Ghazzal/REX/Shutterstock)

The Great British Beer Festival

A visitor enjoys a pint at the Great British Beer Festival, August 8, 2017 in London, England. (Photo: Amer Ghazzal/REX/Shutterstock)

The Great British Beer Festival

Beer stall staff pulling a pint from a pump to serve hundreds of visitors sample 900 different real ales, craft beers international beers, ciders at the CAMRA Great British Beer Festival in London, Aug. 8, 2017. (Photo: Ray Tang/REX/Shutterstock)

The Great British Beer Festival

Hundreds of visitors sample 900 different real ales at “The Liquor Tank” at the CAMRA Great British Beer Festival at Olympia London exhibition center on Aug. 8, 2017 (Photo: Ray Tang/REX/Shutterstock)

The Great British Beer Festival

Visitors drink pints of ale and wait to be served at the CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) Great British Beer festival at Olympia exhibition center on August 8, 2017 in London, England. (Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images)

The Great British Beer Festival

Half finished glasses are placed on squares in return for tickets by visitors leaving the building to smoke cigarettes at the CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) Great British Beer festival at Olympia exhibitioncenter on August 8, 2017 in London, England. (Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images)

The Great British Beer Festival

A barman poses for a photograph in a whacky hat at the CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) Great British Beer festival at Olympia exhibitioncenter on August 8, 2017 in London, England. (Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images)

The Great British Beer Festival

A label is displayed on a pump handle at the CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) Great British Beer festival at Olympia exhibition center on August 8, 2017 in London, England. (Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images)

The Great British Beer Festival

Bar staff serve visitors at the CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) Great British Beer festival at Olympia exhibition center on August 8, 2017 in London, England. (Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images)

The Great British Beer Festival

Bar towels are displayed for sale at the CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) Great British Beer festival at Olympia exhibition center on August 8, 2017 in London, England. (Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images)

The Great British Beer Festival

Beer mat collectors browse mats for sale at the CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) Great British Beer festival at Olympia exhibition center on August 8, 2017 in London, England. (Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images)

The Great British Beer Festival

Visitors drink pints of ale at the CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) Great British Beer festival at Olympia exhibition center on August 8, 2017 in London, England. (Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images)

The Great British Beer Festival

A visitor ticks off sampled ales at the CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) Great British Beer festival at Olympia exhibition center on August 8, 2017 in London, England. (Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images)

The Great British Beer Festival

A woman enjoys a pint of ale at the CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) Great British Beer festival at Olympia exhibition center on August 8, 2017 in London, England. (Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images)

The Great British Beer Festival

Bar staff serve visitors at the CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) Great British Beer festival at Olympia exhibition center on August 8, 2017 in London, England. (Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images)