Yesterday a small ambition of mine was fulfilled by visiting Portsmouth’s one and only Irving Brewery for a friend’s birthday. Located at the railway triangle just off the island, Irving is a small independent brewery that supplies some of the best real ale pubs in Portsmouth. Malcolm Irving, founder of the brewery, conducted the tour and was an excellent host. In 1994, having earned a degree in brewing at Edinburgh, Malcolm was sent down the Gales in Horndean (after a short stop in Middlesborough) where he worked his way up and stayed for 11 years until it’s untimely demise at the hands of Fullers (*spits on floor*). A fine local pedigree you could say. Once Gales was wrapped up, instead of accepting positions in other breweries, Malcolm founded Irving & Co Brewery, and the rest you could say is history. After making sure we were nicely oiled up, Malcolm explained in depth the multiples stages of brewing beer, from grain to glass. I can’t recommend taking this tour enough, the £10 fee gets you the tour with a free pint glass that can be refilled with ales of your choice. You can also buy takeaway ales at great prices. But don’t be fooled into thinking that you will be visiting a quaint old brewery full of history, this is 2013 and the Irving & Co is a very straight forward, modern warehouse establishment that serves its purpose; and that is to produce first rate ales that we can call our own. Check out the website here for further information, book yourself in for a tour and make sure you order a pint of Irving in your local.