Real beer meets real music as landlord sets up new Portsmouth ale festival

Leopold Tavern landlord Stuart Ainsworth
Leopold Tavern landlord Stuart Ainsworth
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Ale and cider lovers are in for a treat as plans for a new beer festival are unveiled.

Organisers hope it will pull in more crowds to Albert Road and help to promote the area as more of a place to be for great beer and company.

‘Southsea Beer Ex’ is the mastermind of Stuart Ainsworth, landlord of The Leopold Tavern in Albert Road.

He is holding the bash at the nearby Wedgewood Rooms, from March 20 to 21, after getting the backing of Geoff Priestley, the venue’s manager.

Stuart will supply all of the beer, which he is sourcing from breweries locally as well as from further afield.

He said he came up with the idea as he wants to bring the area closer together, and knew the Wedge would be the perfect place.

‘Albert Road is already busy, but it’s about all of the traders and other people meeting up and having a great time,’ Stuart said.

‘We want to get people into great beer.

‘I’ve always wanted to do a beer festival like this on this scale.

‘I’ve done a festival in my pub, but I’ve been looking for a suitable venue to do this.

‘I then realised I had one right on my doorstep.

‘This is a good fusion between the two venues – it’s real ale meeting real music.’

‘I approached Geoff and he was all for it – he said anything to get people down into Albert Road.

‘Beer festivals are my hobby; the Campaign for Real Ale hold its annual Winterfest in Gosport, but that’s not local.

‘I thought there was a market for this.

‘Especially after Christmas, I thought it would be good to get Albert Road on the map again and make it known as a place for great beer and not charity shops.’

Around 80 different ales and a selection of cider and bottled beers will be on offer for thirsty punters.

Guests will be treated to live music.

Geoff said: ‘It’s great for Albert Road and most of us that run licenced premises all know each other and get on well, so it’s nice to be working with each other.

‘In this case, it’s taking what Stuart and I do and making it go a step further.

‘We are going to bring some music in which will feature lots of local acts. It’s community.

‘It’s going to be the first time in a very long time that a beer festival has been held at the Wedgewood Rooms.’

Tickets are now on sale from and cost £10 each.

The price includes a souvenir festival glass and programme.