Hundreds flock to join Gosport’s premier beer festival

From left: Ken Storer (83), Ray Potts celebrating his 75th birthday today, and Pete Jolliffe (70) all from Gosport. 

Picture: Sarah Standing (170270-7662)
From left: Ken Storer (83), Ray Potts celebrating his 75th birthday today, and Pete Jolliffe (70) all from Gosport. Picture: Sarah Standing (170270-7662)
Jacqui Edward and Suzette Gough at last year's Christmas Sessions beer festival Picture: Habibur Rahman

Fizz the season to be merry at Portsmouth’s Christmas beer festival

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KEGS of booze were in full flow last night as punters rushed to enjoy the opening of one of the area’s premier beer festivals.

Winterfest kicked off in style at Gosport’s Thorngate Halls yesterday, with hundreds of revellers joining the action.

Staged each year by the local branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), it normally pulls in thousands of ale enthusiasts.

The festival – which is continuing today – is packed with more ale, cider, perry and bottled beers than before.

And organisers have said this year’s instalment is even more special as it marks the 25th year of the two-day bonanza.

Camra activist Martyn Constable said the opening day was a stunning success and was helping to promote all the area’s local breweries.

‘It’s been a great atmosphere,’ he said. ‘People have really been enjoying themselves.’

One of the hundreds of punters visiting this time was Gosport man Ray Potts.

For Ray, of Whitworth Close, it was a chance to discover the variety of drinks produced on his doorstep and to celebrate his 75th birthday.

He said: ‘It was very surprising to see just how many people are brewing in the area.

‘I thought there was only one brewing in Gosport. But I discovered another one, Newtown Brewery, which was a real surprise.’

The festival continues today and has two sittings for beer lovers to enjoy. The first is from 11.30am until 4pm and then again from 6.30pm and 11pm.

As well as featuring live music, visitors will also have a chance to taste a wide selection of more than 80 draught beers, 20 ciders and seven perrys.

‘This is a shop door for local breweries and small breweries to show just what they can do,’ Mr Constable added.

‘Festivals like this are vital for the trade and to get people to drinking or remind them how nice it can be to drink.’

Today’s afternoon sitting has sold out but there are still tickets for the evening’s action, which cost £5.