Never let it be said that I don’t give you the very latest from the world of beer. Just yesterday I popped in to my favourite shop in Southampton, Bitter Virtue ( where they had on sale a beer which they had the world premiere of.

So I reckon this, in turn, must be the world's first review of this beer. Up-to-the minute or what?

The beer in question is Querkus (4.5% ABV) by the Ridgeway Brewery in Oxfordshire. Described as a Smoked Oaked Porter.

Quercus (with a C) is the Latin name for Oak, so why spell it with a K? I assume as there is already a brewery with that name in South Devon spelling it with a K would stop any confusion.

Wording on the bottle describes the way they use Scottish Peated whisky malt, English pale and roated malts with only whole Goldings hops before being patiently cold matured over pieces of old French Oak barrels, the flavours of which seep into the beer. So is all that effort worth it?

Well it is a very pleasant drink for those of us who like a porter. Its taste is not as strong as most porters, very subtle porter like qualities which in some way more drinkable.

In other News, Hop Press, the newsletter of the Southern Hampshire Branch of CAMRA has reported that there are no less than three new breweries in Hampshire. Upham Brewery, which opened late last year and produces Upham Ale (4% ABV).

In May Botley Brewery produced their first ale Botta’s Bitter (4.2% ABV) and will soon add a 4.5% golden ale to their range.

Finally two ex-Ringwood Brewery men have started the Flack Manor Brewery in Romsey. They hope to have their first brew, Double Drop (3.7% ABV) in pubs in June. We wish all three breweries all the best and hopefully I’ll be reviewing their beers in the near future.

Finally, a quick mention of the 14th Southampton Beer Festival takes place in the Civic Centre between 3-5 June. For more details see