A hoppy Christmas at the Portsmouth Beer Festival

The tea lights floating on Canoe Lake  Picture : Habibur Rahman (171663-072)

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WHAT have a holy cow, a black swan and a captain all got in common?

They were all on offer at the Portsmouth Beer Festival in liquid form.

(left to right) Jamie Best (24), Marcus Nelson (23), Dovile Dudenaite (23), Rob Adams (24), Helin Khan (24), Claire Giles (24), and Tom Greenwood (24) at the Portsmouth Beer Festival. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (143600-7698)

(left to right) Jamie Best (24), Marcus Nelson (23), Dovile Dudenaite (23), Rob Adams (24), Helin Khan (24), Claire Giles (24), and Tom Greenwood (24) at the Portsmouth Beer Festival. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (143600-7698)

The event drew thousands of people to sample some festive cheer at the Portsmouth Guildhall over three sessions.

Organiser Terri Stannard said: ‘It’s been good. It’s been fantastic, really jolly, really festive with a great atmosphere.’

Drinkers had plenty of choice as there were more than 70 different ales on offer.

Ms Stannard, 29, said: ‘There are oodles of beers and there’s loads of ciders, mulled ciders, bottled beers, festive music – it’s been an all-round merriment of Christmas joy.’

There was festive spirit aplenty over the two days with visitors soaking up the atmosphere and sampling delights from breweries such as Havant Brewery, Irving, Sharp’s, Ilkley and Brewhouse & Kitchen, plus many more. More than 3,000 adults made the festival a success.

Chris Fleming, of Devonshire Avenue, Southsea, enjoyed a pint with his pal Geoff Allen, from Hamwell, London.

Mr Allen, 53, said: ‘It had a great atmosphere and it was very friendly. It’s Christmas so everybody is in the mood.

‘There was a great selection of beers and lots of nice people. It is a great place to come, I’d recommend it to anybody.’

Mr Fleming, 54, agreed: ‘It’s been a good one. There was a chilli beer though which I don’t think I’d have again but there’s some good beers too.’

Beers such as Hoppy Christmas, Snowhite, Rudolph’s Ruin, Biere De Noel and Mary Christmas were being enjoyed by Steve Hook, 22, Dom Hayes, 23 and Dom Carr, 23.

Mr Carr, from New Brighton Road, Emsworth, said: ‘It was awesome. It was a really good idea.’

Mr Hayes, who was visiting from Fleet, said: ‘As an outsider I felt very welcome and there was some great live music accompanied by delicious and festive beers. I’ve really enjoyed the seasonal selection.’

It was not just men supping the ales, Lisa Puttick, from Shaftesbury Road, Gosport, was enjoying the event with her friends.

The 46-year-old said: ‘I’ve had a couple.

‘I’m not really a beer drinker but my husband has had a few. It’s been good.’

Organisers intend to hold another beer festival at the Portsmouth Guildhall on May 15 and 16.

For more information go to pompeybeerfestival.co.uk or search ‘Portsmouth Beer Festival’ on Facebook.