Strong Island Co.

Food & Drink

Results and Photos from Strong Island Homebrew Competition 2015

Earlier this month we held the 5th annual Strong Island Home Brew competition at Meat & Barrel and as always, the great and the good of local home brews were judged, tasted and enjoyed. The competition has grow and grown over the years and this year saw a total of 29 entries in total from 18 home brewers…both a blessing and a little bit scary for the judges when they realised they had to taste them all.

As well as the numbers, the quality of brews continues to go from strength to strength resulting in a difficult task to pick the city’s finest in both categories. The field was wide open with some old favourite brewers from past years through to new brewers entering for the first time. The types of brews was also diverse too. In the end, the results were:

Ale Category
1st – Dog Watch Porter (Jonathon Goulding)
2nd – Black Forest Gateaux (David Eastwood)
3rd – Artful Aprihop Dodger (Tyler Griffin, previous double winner)

Other Category
1st – Elderflower cider (David Eves)
2nd – Weirs Ginger Beer (Weir)
3rd – Medium Dry Cider (David Eves)

Check the photos below and you can see loads more on our Facebook and over on our Flickr too. A huge thank you to everyone who entered, our judges and Get Brewing for the prizes too. Our Ale category winner will now go to be brewed by Irving & Co. Brewers so keep your eyes peeled on your local pub’s taps around May time.

Southsea Beerex

A very large part of me can’t help but think that, in 2015, Portsmouth is the city to be in when it comes to good beer. New establishments such as Meat & Barrel, The Wave Maiden and Brewhouse mingle with old favourites such as The Hole In The Wall, The Leopold Tavern and The Lawrence Arms amongst many more. We also boast two great annual beer festivals, in the form of The Portsmouth Beer Festival and Portsea Island Beer Festival. Now we can lay claim to a third: Southsea Beerex.

Soothes Beerex is a collaboration between The Leopold Tavern and he Wedgewood Rooms. Bringing together real beer and real music, this event is being held on Friday 20th March and Saturday 21st March 2015. Starting with some of Britain’s most loved breweries and then adding music from some great musicians, this a superb combination that will be a great addition to the already vibrant Albert Road scene. Featured breweries include: Darkstar, Thornbridge, Burning sky, Magic rock, Tiny Rebel, Bad Seed, Irving, Oakleaf, Staggeringly Good, Vibrant Forest, Brewhouse and Kitchen to name just a few. There will also be a large range of real ciders for the non-ale drinkers. Session times are Friday 6-11pm, Saturday 12-5pm and Saturday 6-11pm. All sessions are charged at £10 and include entry, live music and a commemorative glass. Tickets available from Leopold Tavern, Belle Isle and online at Wedgewood rooms. The concept is simple real beer and real music…

You can like and follow Southsea Beerex here & here.


The Portsmouth Beer Festival 2015

The Portsmouth Beer Festival is officially back for the second year running. Cast off your Dryanuary shackles and look towards the promise of an early summer knees up of epic proportions. Co-organiser Ben Miles says, “We’re proud that The Portsmouth Beer Festival is back for a second year after the sell-out weekend in May and December 2014. A celebration of craft beers and cask ales, alongside a selection of ciders, draught beer and delicious street food all set to the backdrop of more fantastic live entertainment including the Southsea Alternative Choir, Bog Rolling Stones and Elasticated Waste Band with many more to be announced soon!”.
As always, tickets will be available online at, however if you favour physical goods, you can grab them from the Portsmouth Guildhall Box Office, Little Johnny Russells, The Belle Isle – Southsea, The Brewhouse, The Leopold Tavern and of course; Strong Island Co.

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Strong Island 5th Annual Home Brew Competition – Date Change

Ladies & Gentlemen due to unforeseen circumstances we have had to push the date back a week to WEDS 11TH FEBRUARY.  It will still be at Meat & Barrel with the same timings and formats. Huge apologies if this causes any inconvenience. If you are unable to make the revised date please contact Malcolm Irving who will be happy to take delivery of your brews and will ensure they are entered into the competition if you are unable to attend. We look forward to seeing you on the 11th.

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5th Annual Strong Island Home Brew Competition – 4/2/2015

Only a month to go until the annual Strong Island Home Brew Competition for 2015!  The rules are the same and last year we had our largest amount of entries and the strongest competition we’ve ever seen.  In a landmark 5th year we’re hoping for more of the same!

We’ve had great success in the previous four years with ALL winners going on to have their winning brews re-brewed by Irving & Co. Brewers and sold in a range of pubs in and around Portsmouth.

The judging panel will consist of Malcolm Irving from Irving & Co. Brewers in Portsmouth,  Stuart Ainsworth who is Landlord of the Leopold Tavern which is Portsmouth & South East Hampshire CAMRA pub of the year multi award winner and one other beer professional to be confirmed soon.

This year we are opting for a 2 categories again.  1st category will be the ale brew.  Whether you already are a home brewer or you really want to have a go for the first time and get involved, this is designed to make no boundaries for the brewer.  This category is made to really let the skills be shown of your home brewing talent.

The 2nd category will be the ‘Other’ category.  Lagers, Ginger Beers & Ciders for this one with same rules with the 1st category regards to unrestricted brewing rules.

Your brews will be judged on:


You can enter as many entries as you like either as an individual or a team.

The judging evening will take place at a new location for 2015, the brand new Meat & Barrel on Palmerston Road, Southsea on Wednesday 4th February 2015 so get it in your diaries.

Drop by Elm Grove and check out Get Brewing for all your ingredients and equipment supplies.

We look forward to seeing you at the competition.

Happy brewing!

5th Brew Comp Poster WEB

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Quick Visit to Home Coffee on Albert Road

Paid a quick visit to Home Coffee earlier this week, the new independent speciality coffee shop on Albert Road. Home opened very recently and has a warm, welcoming atmosphere, great coffee, pasties from Bread Addiction and a great decor too. Home is open today if you are out and about and need a respite from last minute shopping.

Hit them up on Facebook for opening times, menu, etc:

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Twelve Days Of Christmas Competition Winner

Between the 1st and 12th December we have been asking a question each day relating to the prize on offer. One lucky winner will win the whole package for themselves. Being honest I have been quite tempted to keep a few of the prize’s myself, although it is Christmas and I didn’t want to risk being put on Santa’s naughty list. So it gives me great pleasure to announce that the very lucky winner of all these prizes is Sophie Cousins.

We wanted to thank every one who donated something to this awesome competition.

Day One – Made By Burbs Print

Day Two – A pair No 6 Cinema tickets

Day Three – Angela Chick gift cards

Day Four – Magpie’s Lust Jewellery

Day Five – Caleigh Ill coasters

Day Six – Bread Addiction Bag

Day Seven – A meal at The Wave Maiden

Day Eight – Mia Mai framed Print

Day Nine – Meal and drinks voucher for The Marmion Pub

Day Ten – Strong Island Calendar

Day Eleven – Custom made animal toy by Ooh La Lapin

Day Twelve – Raw & Auburn and Laura Bennett Jewellery

A bonus prize courtesy of Staggeringly Good Beer.

Down The Hatch Recipes #4 – Warm Spiced Cider

What better way to end this gastronomical guide than with seasonally fortified booze? Yep, the last mug friendly recipe from the Down The Hatch series is a luxurious spiced cider. And don’t wait for Christmas to make this either, make it into an annual Bonfire night staple too.

brown sugar
all spice berries
star anise
1 x apple
1 x pear
1 x orange

Thinly slice the fruit and mix all of the above into the largest pot you might own. Set it to the lowest heat and allow all the ingredients to heat gently and mingle. Add extra sugar to taste and serve into your enamel mugs with a ladle. Merry Christmas you sorts.




Click here, here and here for the previous recipes.

The Portsmouth Beer Festival Christmas Sessions

Seasonal greetings all ye beer drinkers! The festive term is well and truly upon us, and the Portsmouth Beer Festival is back! Hop on your luge this Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st, and speed down to the warmth of the Guildhall for the ultimate yuletide knees up. A great occasion to regale your friends with your embarrassing stories of 2014 whilst enjoying beers from: Irving & Co, Tiny Rebel, Magic Rock Brewing, Summer Wine Brewery, Dark Star, Bristol Beer Factory, Arbor, Wild Beer and Staggeringly Good to name but a few. Feeling peckish? The good people from The Hummous Shack, Brewhouse & Kitchen and O’Hagan’s Sausages will be on hand to quickly despatch that hunger. Once you are several beers in, remind the other half of what a great dancer you are with the live music courtesy of Hobo Jones and The Junkyard Dogs, Day Of The Rabblement, Mojo Dollar, The Paper Trains, Elasticated Waste Band and many many more. Tickets for this pre-Christmas must do event can be bought at Little Johnny Russells, The Belle Isle, The Leopold Tavern, Brewhouse & Kitchen, the Portsmouth Guildhall box office and of course at Strong Island on 12 Highland Road. However, if you find yourself snow bound, you can also buy them online here.

In addition to this, prizes can be won for most garish Christmas attire, so make sure you raid nan’s wardrobe on your way out.


Smiling Eyes Coffee Co

Smiling Eyes Coffee Co is the latest coffee venture to hit the city and is bringing the current trend of high quality, speciality coffee served from design-led mobile units to our fair city. This specially-converted Volkswagen T2 van houses a truly gigantic Astoria dual lever espresso machine and one of the friendliest baristas you’re ever likely to meet. Jo Hart, proprietor of this exceptional conversion, is what you would probably refer to as a coffee obsessive; passionate about each and every espresso she pulls and putting the quality of each cup at the forefront. “This is the first career in my life that I’ve been this fastidious and cared this much that makes me sure it’s finally the right one!” explains Jo as she prepares my short black. A small queue forms while we continue our caffeine dominated conversation but she remains unfazed and crafts each order with the same consideration and attention to detail as the previous one, coupled with a beaming grin and a hearty thank you.

On the coffee side, Jo is serving Winchester Coffee Roaster’s Synergy espresso blend; a smooth, sweet cup with excellent milk chocolate and red currant tasting notes, perfect as a short americano or flat white. Tea is of course provided by the local and inimitable All About Tea and their signature Portsmouth Tea blend while the chocolate in Jo’s hot chocolates and mochas owe their greatness to Green & Black’s drinking chocolate. The quality on offer from Smiling Eyes is simply unmatched in the small-but-growing Portsmouth mobile catering trade; it really is as close to a speciality coffee shop on wheels as you’ll get in the city.

You can find Smiling Eyes on a Monday at the Student’s Union market, Tuesday’s outside the Citywide Taxi office and on weekends at the Palmerston Rd market but be sure to follow @smilingeyes2014 to keep up to date with where you can next grab a top notch brew.

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Last Day of the Creating Balance Project Exhibition at Pitfield in Winchester

The Creating Balance Project exhibition’s current residency at the Pitfield Pop-Up in Winchester ends today with the exhibition receiving some really great comments and coverage on websites, etc. Below are some photos by our own Claire Sambrook from a recent visit when many of the project’s artist/designer/photographer participants went up for a look. See more of Claire’s Creating Balance Project photos over on here Flickr.

The Creating Balance Project exhibition will return home to Portsmouth on the 10th of January 2014 for an extended exhibition at Aspex Gallery in Gunwharf, with an opening party and a series of other events and activities to be announced very soon. Ourselves and Anglepoise® are all really looking forward to showing the project to everyone in Portsmouth very soon!

To find out more about the project and exhibition please visit:

Creating Balance Project Exhibition at Pitfield in Winchester (1)

Creating Balance Project Exhibition at Pitfield in Winchester (2)

Creating Balance Project Exhibition at Pitfield in Winchester (3)

Creating Balance Project Exhibition at Pitfield in Winchester (4)

Creating Balance Project Exhibition at Pitfield in Winchester (5)

Creating Balance Project Exhibition at Pitfield in Winchester (6)

Creating Balance Project Exhibition at Pitfield in Winchester (7)

Creating Balance Project Exhibition at Pitfield in Winchester (8)

Submarine Graveyard

Portsmouth’s Pounds scrapyard has been the final stop for the lives of many military vehicles over the years but most noticeable it has been the location for a submarine graveyard. So iconic was the sight of the submarines as you entered Portsmouth that they became the inspiration for the architect when designing the new swimming pool at the Mountbatten Centre.

Robin Hinson has a large collection of photos of the scrapped submarines here, with a few shown below.

Vintage Photography – Sunny Southsea

Following on again from the photos of the Seafront and the Paddling Pool after The Bandstand and Tennis Courts the previous week, here’s another scan from Khalid.

The Pavilion on Clarence Pier looks amazing. No more donkey rides though. Shame.

Holy Cody Batman

Cody needs no introductions, ever. The nicest guy you’ll ever meet with a heart of a gold and the skateboard mentality of an escaped mental patient.

If you need conformation of that statement then check this photo I grabbed from some site called Facebook. Off the clubhouse roof into the flat bank down Southsea Skatepark. Nuts…


Shortly after I posted this insane photo of Cody going nuts down the skatepark, he sent a reply. Thought i’d post it up so people that know him can have a read.

“Thank u for the nice word. I just have to say thank you to all the peeps and friends that have help and shape me as a sk8er and as a human being. The love that i have been shown over the years is so big. The friend and peeps i have met and change my life and change my path to some thing good. I truly say it with my heart that i love you all and i hope to make more friends and to have more good time. Here a shout out to all the u.k sk8 scene and the southsea boys and girl sk8er or not, much love. and to the guys like strong island crew and bored sk8 for keeping the u.k. scene going. So if u up for a sk8 drink or chill u find me in southsea. 1 love bye cody x”

Local Photographer – Rich Heath

I always search Southsea on Flickr at least once a week to see what sort of askew views people take on this fair town. Rich Heaths photographs stopped me dead in my tracks scrolling through pages when I saw his sunrise photographs. Simply awesome. Check out Rich’s Flickr Photostream for more photos and head over to his website Hampshire Light to buy prints.

The photograph below was chosen for the front page of The NEWS to accompany an article on the planned redevelopment of the sea front. I couldn’t find the article, but if anyone has a link post it up in the comments for all to see.


Strong Island Clothing Co.