Cheers! Beer bash goes down a treat again with punters

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THIRSTY ale lovers enjoyed thousands of pints as an annual beer bash was once again crowned a roaring success.

Thorngate Halls in Gosport was packed to the rafters as punters sampled a huge stock of brews at Winterfest.

Volunteer John Cameron-Cornish serving up a pint of Ballards which is brewed near Petersfield. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (14546-2979)

Volunteer John Cameron-Cornish serving up a pint of Ballards which is brewed near Petersfield. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (14546-2979)

The popular two-day event, in its 22nd year, was laid on by the Portsmouth and south-east Hampshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra).

The venue was split into two rooms – one selling beer, cider and perry brewed within 30 miles of Gosport, while the other had drinks from further afield.

Phil Chapman, 53, has enjoyed going to the festival for 10 years and this time he brought friends John Gregory, 51, and John Lee, 54.

Phil, who particularly liked tasting Beartown Beer Company’s Ginger Bear, said: ‘It’s a great chance to enjoy different real ales.

‘They all have great tastes and a lot of them you can’t get in your local pub.’

Garry Dark, 42, of Southsea, saw it as a great chance to catch up with twin brother Chris and their father David, 71.

‘There’s been a resurgence in real ale drinking,’ he said.

Chris said: ‘We go to quite a few beer festivals, and you get so much breadth of choice.’

Ed Anderson, head brewer for The Oakleaf Brewing Company, in Gosport, estimated about 7,000 pints were guzzled over the weekend.

‘People constantly want to see a great variety of beers,’ he said. ‘That’s why they’ve come here. This event will keep growing and growing.’

Fifty volunteers from Camra manned the bars and at least 90 per cent of the beer was finished by Saturday’s evening session.

Deana Geary, landlady of The Junction Tavern, in Leesland Road, Gosport, had a great time giving up her time serving customers.

‘It’s been great, and there have been lots of new faces as well,’ she said.

Paul Jevons, landlord of The Sirloin of Beef, in Highland Road, Eastney, Portsmouth, brought along a party of staff and regulars and enjoyed researching which beers he could next serve.

Festival organiser Martyn Constable said: ‘We sold out the three main sessions. It just proves that people prefer a real product with real taste.’