ALL hail real ale!

It is that time of year again as Southampton prepares for its annual beer festival.

More than 100 kinds of real ale, ciders, perries and bottled beers will be on offer at the O2 Guildhall from Thursday until Saturday for the 18th Southampton Beer Festival.

Breweries across Hampshire will be providing their tasty tipples for the weekend, including 13 from Southampton.

There will be a range of 90 or more real ales, 16 or more ciders and perries, bottled beer from Britain, Europe and around the world, a family room, hot food and sandwiches provided by Earl of Sandwich in Winchester, and traditional bar snacks.

The festival is organised by volunteers from the Southern Hampshire branch of the Wessex region Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

Beer fans can get a taste of what is on offer at a free preview session on May 29, from 6.30pm until 11pm. There will be quiet sessions between 11.30am and 4pm on May 30, and May 31.

Entertainment will be provided by Celtic folk rock band Mary Jane on Friday and pop classics will sound through the historic venue when the Silver Beatles take to the stage on Saturday.

Rob Whatley, organiser of the Southampton beer Festival, said: “We are building on previous success by getting in a lot of good beer and ciders.

“We have a number of regular punters that visit year on year but we want to encourage new people to come along.

“There is a tremendous selection of beers and we try to make it better every year. This year there are beers from breweries that haven’t appeared before.

“We publicise how many good beers there are available and try to encourage people to try them. Once they have been to the festival they can go to local pubs to drink those beers there.”



  • Thursday, May 29: 6.30pm-11pm, free
  • Friday, May 30: 11.30am-4pm, £5, 6.30pm-11pm, £10
  • Saturday, May 31: 11.30am-4pm, £7, 6.30pm-11pm, £9
  • Tickets are available from the Southampton O2 Guildhall box office on 023 8063 2601, Bitter Virtue Off Licence, Cambridge Road, Portswood; Waterloo Arms, Waterloo Road, Freemantle; Guide Dog, Earls Road, Bevois Valley; and the Romsey Beer Emporium, Bell Street, Romsey.