The real ale flows as punters enjoy annual Gosport beer festival

120592-1657 BEER FESTIVAL GOSPORT (MOL) MRW 18/2/2012''// all pix at Campaign for Real Ale Gosport Winter Beer Festival held at the Thorngate Halls in Gosport - MRW // ''(left to right) Mat Sibley (40), Ian Cox (26) , Olly Poole (30) and Rob Brown (31) 'It was because of Olly poking fun at the hats that his mates went to buy them ! ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (120592-1657)
120592-1657 BEER FESTIVAL GOSPORT (MOL) MRW 18/2/2012''// all pix at Campaign for Real Ale Gosport Winter Beer Festival held at the Thorngate Halls in Gosport - MRW // ''(left to right) Mat Sibley (40), Ian Cox (26) , Olly Poole (30) and Rob Brown (31) 'It was because of Olly poking fun at the hats that his mates went to buy them ! ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (120592-1657)

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DRINKERS loved a beer festival so much they drank the place dry.

Organisers had to stock up on extra ciders and perrys at this weekend’s Gosport Winter Beer Festival after customers emptied the barrels on Saturday afternoon.

And the festival, which is in its 20th year, proved to be a hit with just a handful of tickets remaining on sale.

Hundreds of people came through the doors of Thorngate Halls, in Bury Road for the annual beer bash.

Drinkers were treated to more than 80 real ales, ciders and perrys at the event, which was set up by volunteers and committee members from the Campaign For Real Ale (Camra).

The festival also saw performances from Lost Star Souls, the Portsmouth City Band and Mary Jane.

Mat Sibley, 40, of Silvester Road, Cowplain, enjoyed a glass or two with friends whilst wearing a novelty hat he bought from a stall inside the venue.

‘This is the first time I’ve been to this beer festival, but I love it,’ he said.

‘There’s lots of great-tasting beers and the selection is fantastic.

‘I’ve managed to try most of the strong ones.

‘My particular favourites were Moonraker Ale, Pressed Rat and Warthog Ale.

‘I love how unusual the names of the beers are.’

Nigel Firth-Penny, of Camra, said: ‘Sales of perrys and ciders were really strong, so much so we had to make an extra order so we had some for visitors during the evening.

‘It’s been a fantastic festival. The atmosphere has been brilliant.’

Camra member Agota Perity, 40, said: ‘I may be a woman but I love my real ales.

‘I love going to beer festivals and have been to quite a few across Winchester and Salisbury.

‘I’m really impressed with how the Gosport festival turned out.

‘More women should get interested in real beers.

‘My favourite one this weekend has been Triple Chocolate Stout.

‘It’s thick, dark and not too sweet.’

All proceeds from the event went towards Camra.

Drinkers got a programme, a souvenir festival glass and a half pint of beer with their ticket, which cost £8 per person.

Ian Cox, 36, of St David’s Road, Somers Town, said: ‘There’s nothing quite like a beer festival.

‘They’re great for the community.

‘I thoroughly enjoyed myself.’