IT’S a celebration of the best of British beer – and Portsmouth brewer Malcolm Irving is hoping to impress with flavours from the other side of the world.
His Thai Me Up ale is one of more than 800 brews chosen for the Campaign for Real Ale’s flagship Great British Beer Festival.
As well as the standard hops and barley malt, Malcolm’s creation is flavoured with lemon-grass, coriander, cardamom and lime juice to give it an extra zing.
‘They give it the flavour of a Thai curry – without the heat,’ said Malcolm, who runs the Irving and Co brewery on the Railway Triangle industrial estate in Farlington.
‘It’s about putting some interesting and different flavours, and a different twist, into a standard British cask ale and giving it something to excite the palate.
‘It’s not the best known of our beers so I am looking forward to getting the opinion of other people.’
The Great British Beer Festival takes place at London’s Olympia.
Doors open to the public tomorrow and the event, which runs until Saturday, is expected to attract over 55,000 visitors.
They will have a chance to choose from more than 800 beers from around the UK, international brews from Belgium, Germany, Italy, and the USA, as well as traditional ciders and perries.
‘There really has never been a better time to discover real ale, with over a thousand breweries in the UK producing over 5,000 different beers,’ said Camra chief executive Mike Benner.
‘In fact, the choice is so great that this year we have taken the decision to feature just a single beer from most breweries, in order to represent the largest number of breweries as possible from across the UK.’
Other local beers being showcased at the London event include Midhurst Mild by Ballard’s of Nyewood near Petersfield, Quiver by the Bowman brewery at Droxford, Elder Ale by the Flowerpots brewery at Shedfield and Nelson’s Oak by the Oakleaf brewery in Gosport.
To Malcolm, the event is further testimony of the vibrant small brewing industry.
‘Drinkers are looking for local beers with prominence and full flavour – beers that excite the taste buds,’ he said.