Cask beers to delight at quirky Portsmouth festival

Picture: Pierandrea Guarnieri

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BREWS from Wales and the midlands will keep glasses frothing over at an upcoming beer festival at the Groundlings Theatre.

The Portsea venue is preparing to host the fourth annual Portsea Island Beer Festival on Friday, October 10 and Saturday, October 11.

The festival traditionally attracts about 1,000 visitors over four sessions and is organised by Irving and Co. Brewers of Portsmouth.

Owner Malcolm Irving said he was planning trips across Britain to pick up cask beer for the festival.

He said: ‘It’s a bit of a labour of love.

‘We’ve got 50 cask beers, this year quite a lot from Wales and the midlands as well as from local brewers.’

Bands playing will include the Blendworth Brass Band and Havant-based rockers The Strangers.

Mr Irving said father and son musical duo Dicely Riley were set to make a return after performing at the festival two years ago.

He said: ‘They‘re very entertaining and they get everybody jumping.’

The theatre’s artistic director Richard Stride said the festival always had a quirky, Victorian theme which suited the historic – and supposedly haunted – building.

He said: ‘People like coming here because it’s such a unique setting for a beer festival.

‘It’s also a great promotion for us because we get a lot of people along who wouldn’t ordinarily come into the theatre.’

There will be sessions from midday to 4pm and 6pm to 11pm on both days, with ticket prices ranging from £4 to £8.

Tickets can be bought from the brewery on (023) 9238 9988 or the theatre on (023) 9273 7370.