Fancy a strong bitter? Portsmouth brewery's beer wins silver in national competition

Irving Brewery is competing to be named the best in the country. Picture: Mark Acheson
Irving Brewery is competing to be named the best in the country. Picture: Mark Acheson
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A strong bitter from a Portsmouth brewery has won the silver medal in a national competition organised by the Campaign for Real Ale. 

Irving and Co brewery, in Walton Road, Portsmouth, first brewed Iron Duke in October 2012 as a seasonal beer.  

But its popularity meant it became a regular fixture – and the judges of the Champion Beer of Britain 2019 awards agreeing with the punter's taste.   

The 5.3 per cent ABV strong bitter, described by brewer Malcolm Irving as ‘a relatively strong, hoppy' beer, won the silver in this year’s Strong Bitters category. 

Malcom said: ‘I’ve been a brewer for more than 20 years, and I used to work for Gales, which was a big brewery.

‘And Gales was only nominated for one national award while I was there. 

‘So for us to win a silver place in a national award is fantastic.’ 

Irving Brewery went head to head with 71 other breweries during the Great British Beer Festival at the Olympia in London last month. 

Malcolm adeed: ‘We’re just a small, local brewery, so this is a huge deal.'

The brewer said the award has already caused an ‘upturn’ in demand for the beer. 

He said: ‘Pretty much immediately Norwich Beer Festival called us and said ‘we have to have some Iron Duke at the festival.’

‘So it does make a difference.’

Nick Boley, Champion Beer of Britain coordinator said: ‘It is an incredibly exciting time for British brewers, and nowhere is this better reflected than in the Champion Beer of Britain competition.’

Iron Duke is currently stocked in more than six pubs across the Portsmouth, including the Lawrence Arms, in Lawrence Road, and The One Eyed Dog, in Elm Grove. 

Irving Brewery beers will be appearing at the Poole Beer Festival in the autumn, and the Hampshire Beer Festival in October.

The brewery will also be organising its own beer festival, the Portsea Island Beer Festival, at the Groundlings Theatre from Friday October 11 to Saturday October 12. 

Now in its ninth year, the festival will see fifty cask ales from across the UK, as well as locally produced ciders and perries, food stalls, and live music.