Local ales and great friends at Gosport’s former coaching inn

CHEERS Patrick Noonan and Teresa Kirkby run the Clarence Tavern in Gosport.  Picture: Ian Hargreaves (113962-10)
CHEERS Patrick Noonan and Teresa Kirkby run the Clarence Tavern in Gosport. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (113962-10)
Fellow student Bethany Toon, 17, with Bruce Wetherill, 25, at St Vincent College, Gosport  Picture: Neil Marshall (171028-16)

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After The Clarence Tavern underwent a two-year refurbishment in 1997, it housed a micro brewery which later became known as Gosport’s nationally acclaimed Oakleaf Brewing Company.

The pub, in Clarence Road, Gosport, had its beers supplied by Oakleaf, which was then called Old Chapel Brewery, in a back room for the next five years before it changed its name and moved premises around the corner to Mumby Road.

But that hasn’t stopped landlord Patrick Noonan, 53, making sure he orders a ready supply of beers made by Oakleaf, which saw its lager ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Bitter’ crowned the best in Britain at the Great British Beer Festival, in Earls Court, London, in August.

Oakleaf’s Some Are Drinking, Pompey Royal and Hole Hearted ales go down a storm with customers at The Clarence Tavern, a former coaching inn which dates back to 1830.

Patrick, who runs the pub with partner Teresa Kirby, 47, said: ‘In this line of work you really have to ensure your customers are pleased because that way they’ll keep coming back.

‘That’s why we stock up on the Oakleaf beer, because everyone loves it. We had a technician from Guinness who came in two years ago to check our cellar and pipe lines and he sampled the Oakleaf range we had.

‘He said it was the best beer he had ever tasted.

‘You get all walks of life who come through the door, it’s a real hub of the community here.’

Teresa said: ‘If you’re not willing to listen to people’s problems then you shouldn’t be in this industry. You’ve got to be there for people. In this pub you could enter as a stranger, but we make sure you leave as our friend.’