ORGANISERS of a reborn beer festival want the event to become another ‘feather in Portsmouth’s cap’.
The festival, called Beerex, took place at the weekend at the University of Portsmouth Students’ Union.
Its four sessions each attracted more than 200 people keen to sample the 85 different ales and 15 ciders on offer.
The festival was revived by the Portsmouth and south-east Hampshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale after finishing in 2010.
Camra member Martyn Constable, who organised the beer for the festival, said it was a great event with a friendly atmosphere.
Mr Constable said he looked forward to the festival once again becoming a feature on Portsmouth’s calendar.
He said: ‘We had really good feedback about the location.
‘It’ll grow year on year.
‘It will be a real feather in Portsmouth cap.’
Mr Constable said the message was loud and clear: real ale is back in favour among drinkers.
‘It’s huge,’ he said. ‘It’s the only growth part of the market in pubs.
‘Lager, spirits and wine are all falling away year on year but real ale is seeing growth.’
He said the diversity of flavours real ale offered was one of the reasons why it was becoming so popular.
He said: ‘If you drink a pint of Fosters, it’s the same at any pub you go to.
‘But real ales are much more diverse. People also like the localism of real ale and how it’s a unique product.
‘It takes a lot of skill and there’s a lot more that goes into it than into a nationally-branded product.’
And pub landlords couldn’t agree more.
Jonathan McKerracher, 44, is owner of the Hole in the Wall in Southsea.
Mr McKerracher said: ‘We’ve been here since 2004 and the interest in real ale and real cider has definitely improve over the past 10 years, especially with younger drinkers.
‘I think they see it as something a bit more exciting than lager now – something that can excite the tastebuds.
‘We’re also seeing more women drinking real ale as well.’
Tina Tester, landlady of the Carisbrooke Arms in Gosport, said real ale orders were also on the increase at her pub.
Ms Tester said that although most drinkers at the Carisbrooke still preferred lager or cider, real ale was becoming more popular.
She said: ‘We’ve only got room for two but I wish we had room for more.’
Ms Tester said she hoped to organise a real ale festival for the pub sometime during winter, as other pubs around Gosport had done.