Thursday, October 20, 2016

Portsea Island Beer Festival - 2016

Time again for the Pompey beer festival at Groundling's Theatre - hard to believe that this is the 6th one!

As ever a  most enjoyable event and for this year, we had a full turn out of the beer drinking crew I generally attend these events with.. good to see themand as ever much banter and errr...  bolleaux...  was exchanged! 

Interesting choice of glass this year (left) much like a brandy snifter..  very funny looking round and seeing all the usual old/bearded/scruffy types (and that was only us) grasping their delicate little glasses ..

I've spoken of the venue before and it is still the best venue for an event like this - chock full of character (and as a reminder it is a Victorian era building, now a theatre, but originally a school, and the site where Mrs Dickens went into labour the night before Charley arrived), but again, not an outstanding festival in the humble opinion of the cognoscenti I was with...  poor'ish beer choices, but at least this year we had a good brass band (unlike the nutters with electric instruments they put on last year)... nothing like a good brass band bashing out Land of Hope and Glory and Jerusalem to get the punters waving their brandy snifters..  err, beer glasses.....

I wonder in fact if the poor beer choice last year didn't affect numbers this year as I thought they were well down - lots of room to move as you can see following (which is the upstairs theatre area where the beer bar is)..  two or three years ago we were shoulder to shoulder..

..this is downstairs, still something of the school room here..

So..  what of the future for this excellent little festival?? I've seen it again and again over the years, organisers try to save money by buying from lesser known breweries (and it was fairly clear the organisers had sent a van to Nottingham for this one as their were five Nottingham Breweries represented! ), but the punters at these festivals are experienced ale drinkers and can tell, and if the organisers carry on doing that, then people are not going to go (like this year?)..  three or four of our party were already ready to go half way through, after a succession of good but not outstanding beers..  if you pay £5 or whatever to get in, and then pub prices for beer, and you know that only a mile away there is a pub selling a good selection of premium real ales without an entry price, what would you do?  The way ahead is to leaven the racks of lesser known breweries with a few barrels of the better known breweries that are not accessible in our area - a few barrels from the likes of Thornbridge or Kelham Island would have made a huge difference to this festival.. Anyway, feedback will be provided and I'll give this festival one more chance next year..

So without further ado here were the beers partaken of.. these were full half's only...  good swigs of a few others were also partaken of...

Brewery (clickable) Beer (click for more info) ABV Notes (from brewery website) What I can remember...
Bude BreweryPorthbud4%"Our latest addition is Porthbud our session Pale Ale. This 4.0% ABV ale has a beautiful light colour, a wonderful passion fruit aroma and tantalising hoppy after taste. We combined Cascade with Pioneer and dry hopped Porthbud to give it a bold flavour that leaves you wanting more".I thought this largely lived up to what was promised and it was a worthy session strength start to the afternoon.. dry/hoppy
Dukeries De Love Tot 4.2% "Golden ale with hints of citrus, mellow lemon and grapefruit with an enjoyable long bitter finish". First of the Nottingham breweries  Not a succesfful choice forme..  from the description Ido wonder if this beer was on the turn as I thought it was a very sour/Saisson style? A "chuck'er"* I'm afraid..
Emsworth Brewery Flotilla 4.4% "A dark amber coloured ale with fruity flavours from the blend of 3 English Ale Malts. Target & Bobek hops enrich the flavours with hints of sultana in the final finish". My local brewery - guess no more than a mile from Chateau Steve the Wargamer..  an OK brewery and an OK beer.. this was a traditional amber British bitter..  slightly malty/sweet, hoppy/dry after taste..
Lincoln Green Little John 4.3% "Brown ale with dark amber colour and chocolate malt flavours." Second of the Nottingham Breweries.. More a mild than anything else - smokey/dark chocolate tones.
Nottingham Bullion 4.7% "A light coloured, exceptionally well balanced smooth ale with a light fragrant hop finish.

Bronze award winner at the CAMRA Great British Beer Festival 2000."
Third Nottingham Brewery..  and I've marked this as "best yet"..
Vale VPA 4.2% "Hops from across the Atlantic produce an assertive, dry, hoppy ale with a citrus nose combined with  a  notable  sweetness". I was looking for some heavy hitting Citra type bitterness but my notes only indicate "nothing special"
Urban Island High and Dry 5.5% "West Coast IPA brewed to celebrate the Americas Cup World Series commencing today in our home town of Portsmouth". Local brewery to the festival - Portsmouth. Strong hoppy bitter finish.

* as in "chuck it in the bucket mate, this is gopping"..


  1. Never had any of these beers myself, but we have been selling Lincoln Green and Vale recently. Lincoln Green seems to be very popular in Kent! If you had Notts beers I'm surprised they didn't pick Blue Monkey beers!

  2. Looks to be a nice venue Steve. Enjoyed your notes, can't say I have tried any of those as yet, so many to choose from these days.