County Stat Attack Week 16 - Isle of Wight

Our only Island County, it used to be part of Hampshire until the boundary changes of 1974 when it was made its own ceremonial county. It is between 2 miles and 5 miles across the Solent to reach the Island from Southampton, Portsmouth and Lymington. Under the Romans it was known as Vectis, a name that you can still see on local transport. Later the island suffered many attacks from Viking invaders until the Norman Conquest when the island became the property of the Whitwara family, giving it its current name. The island was on the front line during the period of the Spanish Armada and Battle of Britain.

The island has an area of 100 square miles with 57 miles of coastline. The West of the island is chalkland downs with ridge culminating at the Needles sea stacks. The north coast on the Solent is unusual in having 4 high tides per day.
There are no cities on the island, the largest towns are Newport, Ryde, Cowes and the seaside towns of Sandown, Shanklin and Ventnor.

Beer wise this one of the more difficult counties of our English tour, on Ratebeer we have a total of just 6 Breweries, 4 of which remain open and 2 closed. There are no Commissioner / Client Brewers amongst these.

The oldest Brewery we have is Goddards Brewery of Oakfield (Est 1993). However the now closed Ventnor Brewery (1996 till 2009) emerged from the ashes of a much older brewery, Burts & Co of Ventnor which was founded in 1840 but closed in 1996.
The Brewery with the largest range we have is Yates of Sandown (Est 2000) with 25 beers on Ratebeer.

The Ratebeer 2020 awards gave Best Brewer to Goddards brewery and the Goddards Quarr Abbey Ale as Best Beer.

The overall Top 10 beers for the Isle of Wight are –

  1. Yates Yule Be Sorry
  2. Goddards Winter Warmer
  3. Island Earls RDA
  4. Goddards Inspiration
  5. Goddards Quarr Abbey Ale
  6. Yates Wight Winter
  7. Ventnor Sand Rock R
  8. Goddards Wight Squirrel
  9. Yates Dark Side of the Wight
  10. Goddards Botanic Pale Ale

The top 3 Bars / Pubs on the Isle of Wight are –

  1. Cowes Ale House, Cowes – 73
  2. Union Inn, Cowes – 69
  3. Bargemans Rest, Newport – 69

The top 5 Raters of Beers from the Isle of Wight are –

  1. @Grumbo
  2. @SHIG
  3. @SaintMatty
  4. @saxo
  5. @fonefan

You will require a measly 9 beers to enter the top 50 for the Isle of Wight.

The Rater with the most ratings from the Isle of Wight is @thirstybob who we haven’t seen since 2013.
There are no current Raters residing on the island unfortunately.


Thanks for the great write up as usual Glen, but “oh dear” from a stats point if view - I’ll post my measly total later.

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Well I suppose the tiddlers had to make an appearance at some time and for me the I.o.W is my smallest haul for any English county and without a visit since I started reviewing places, I have drawn a blank on that front. Having said this we have been to the I.o.W on quite a few occasions and very pleasant it is too. I have walked the spine of the island, from The Needles to Sandown in a day, visiting a few pubs on the way, and I have walked the complete coast too over a week. We were due to go there in 2020 but we all know what happened to that, nothing planned at present. I do enjoy going to the island, it is like stepping back in time and the public transport is brilliant, it’s a bit hairy towing the van on there though with the narrow roads and over confident bus drivers.

No sporting visits though, unless being roped in for crew in Cowes week counts. I was on a holiday week with several of my drinking mates, camping somewhere near Bembridge I think. We decided that there might be lots of girls around in Cowes in the sailing week that just happened to be on, we were not wrong. We met some lovely young ladies who possibly were intrigued by our more working class ways (early 70’s), as the evening wore on they posed the question of whether we were available to crew as some of the yachts were short, only 2 of us could even swim well and non had stepped on a yacht, so we both got roped in. Roped is a good word as the whole time was spent pulling one rope or another, under some vicious instructions, whilst attempting to avoid getting dunked or wacked across the head by a pole, great fun though, impressing the young ladies immensely, which was the whole point probably. We did get some sort of award and had to appear at a presentation with said girls at which point some rugger buggers turned up and ruined our evening somewhat.

Anyway, beer. I have 20 beers for the Isle of Wight making me equal 10th. The island is rock bottom of my English counties, 46th position. I have given I.o.W beers an average rating of a lowly 3.02 as well. I have had beers from just 4 different breweries.

Goddards Brewery has most ratings from me with 6 beers, Island Brewery and Ventnor Brewery both with 5 beers and Yates with 4.

I have no beers rated 4 or over the best beer I have rated is Goddards Fuggle-Dee-Dum which I gave 3.6. Then Island Nipper Bitter and Yates Holy Joe both with 3.5

Island Brewery is my highest rated with an average of 3.26. The others are pretty low.

I have no place ratings.

That’s all I have for the Isle of Wight. Must do better next time.


A massive 11 rates for me; equal 34th in the totals pecking order. It is also the lowest number of beers I’ve rated from an English County by some way.

I have that many because my good lady and I took the chance to visit the island the day before a mid-week Grimsby Town game in Portsmouth. So on 13th March 2017 we took the ferry to Ryde and as it was still early we hopped onto the Tube to Shanklin.

Sadly Shanklin was closed, we walked around a bit hoping to find something open, but failed and returned to Ryde after about an hour and a half, saw plenty of pubs (I had a wish list with addresses) but a winters Monday lunchtime wasn’t busy enough for any of them to bother opening.

Back in Ryde and with the sun coming out we found the Spoon’s and managed a cask IoW rate; six IoW bottles bought from Greenhams Offie and I’m happy. A pleasant stroll along the sea front and we spot the impressive Ryde Castle Hotel and it’s inviting beer garden. Surprisingly the sun was warming the afternoon and we spent a couple of hours drinking rosé wine and cask Greene King IPA. Didn’t think the place was worth adding to the data base, even though we really enjoyed the time spent there in the sun. Just two place reviews from me then, Spoon’s and Greenhams.

Top beers are both sat on 3.9:
Goddards Fuggle-Dee-Dum and Goddards Quarr Abbey Ale.

Three breweries, no cider, mead or sake!
Goddards 5
Island and Yates both on 3

That’s it.



Actually that’s not it!

I have a friend who religiously goes to this (or did when not cancelled):

It sounds great fun, he’s a bus geek as well as a Real Ale one. I have never asked him to bring me any beers back though, he’s a rucksack sort of guy and travels light.


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Oxford CAMRA run a trip to this every year. I haven’t gone with them yet as its over a weekend but I will do one day.

One rate for me (which is one more than my Rutland rates) courtesy of Mr. Pink at Cotts in 2018.

And that’s it. Never been. No real intention of visiting.

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Don’t be frightened to leave Yorkshire @Garrold, there are some very nice places and people outside Sheffield, honestly. :grinning:


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Well, it appears that I am in good company in having never visited IOW and only managed to find 1 beer from Goddard’s to register a score. It was called Duck’s Folly and since I didn’t like it, the folly was mine. I suspect most visitors to the isle will be more struck by the Victorian imprint than anything earlier. Osborne House was one of Victoria’s summer haunts and when my sister had the unenviable task of escorting her primary school class around it, she was foolish enough to reach out to take a closer look at one of the plants in the herb garden. It turned out to be rue and she needed medical attention. Rarely was a herb more aptly named. I suspect this particular thread may prove richer on reminiscence than on remembered beer specifically.


My stats for the Isle of Wight aren’t great, but they’re not terrible either. Most of my stats come from a short visit in September 2019. We went from Bournemouth to Yarmouth via Lymington, and stayed in Sandown and Newport.

It’s a lovely but sleepy part of England. I found Lymington and Cowes to be especially picturesque, with Ryde at the other end of the scale. Sandown is nice enough but could use a sprucing up and a reminder that it isn’t 1965 anymore. Newport, while being anytown UK in some ways, was pleasant enough and strangely memorable.

The highlights for me were the ferries there and back, and eating lots of fish. Oh, and meeting the deputy mayor of Cowes. Hey, I’m easily impressed.

I have 12 beers from IOW, rock bottom of the 46 counties for me but enough to give me a place on the leaderboard at 28th. Most of my beers come from Goddards (8) with 3 from Island and one from Yates. Unfortunately we missed the new Boojum & Snark brewery in Sandown by a couple of months. No IOW mead or cider for me yet. The top beers are:

Island Earls RDA 3.6
Goddards Scrumdiggity 3.4
Island Wight Knight 3.4
Goddards Ducks Folly 3.4

None of the beers excited me overmuch, although the RDA (a stout) was delicious and worth seeking out.

Rating multiple places was tough, as the island doesn’t really have a beer scene. I went to several more, but felt I was ‘padding’ my ratings as it was so left them out. There are a handful of really decent places. I ended up with 6, the top 3 being:

Lifecraft 82
Ventnor Exchange 80
Newport Ale House 72

Lifecraft is a small bottleshop in Cowes where you can get decent craft as well as stock up on the IOW beers you missed (they can be hard to find even on the island). I’d recommend Ventnor Exchange as well if you get tired of basic bitters, they do cans and bottles (no draught) of classic Belgians and UK craft.


The Isle of Wight was the last region of the UK to remain pagan. That is until Jesus told some visiting Christians to burn the bastards.

And that is more interesting than my tally of four beers - my bottom county (and one of 7 still in single digits). One of those garlic beers from a local garden centre, @Mr_Pink_152’s contribution to Cotts 2018 and then 2 more recent ones bought at 33 Green Bottles in Gosport.

The Mrs and I were planning some more short breaks and will have to suggest IoW.


I think you will find that they are still pagan in Aston, North Birmingham :grinning:

Ah, I meant Neanderthal, similar!

The grand total for me is 9 beers. Most from Island Brewery. I have only visited The Isle of Wight a couple of times in my pre RB days.

The only place rating I have is an online delivery from Island. Which included my Cotteridge contribution.

Still not been able to find that Garlic Beer I might need to visit more garden centres.


Ahh the Wight Whale! :frowning: None for me, Wight and Merseyside stand as my last two counties to tick.Which as a Canadian who has only been to England 3 times (UK 4 times) since I started rating is not terrible.


Don’t be in a hurry to try a garlic beer. This one was horrendous.


The IoW one is OK… I mean it’s not disgusting.

There used to be a garlic restaurant in Helsinki which did garlic beer, although I am pretty sure they got a darker lager and stirred in some garlic.


I will buy one and we can do a local trade at some point.

The only reason I am happy to go to garden centres is a Full English and the fact that a few around here are now stocking OK beers, because we is posh in Surrey.


I like going to the Isle of Wight. It was my only “overseas” trip in 2020 after first lockdown commenced. And gave me my only beer festivals since then too. Glorious weekend of weather, beer festivals and sightseeing in October with my Mrs and for the most part @SHIG. Previous visits included a school trip in the early '80’s, a visit with my son as part of my “pint in every county in 12 months” challenge some years ago and a day trip with @saxo in 2019 as part of a Southern tour during which we visited the 3 main IOW breweries and 2 cideries (again with the Mrs who for the most part loves our beer tours).

So 54 IOW ratings has taken some effort and a number of visits to achieve over the years (though didn’t rate any on the school trip). 34 beers and 20 ciders/meads. Goddards Brewery and Godshill Cidery joint top on volume with 13 each. A Godshill cask cider and the Quarr Abbey have scored highest at 3.7.

6 places rated but my favourite place (which I checked in at but didn’t yet write up) is the new brewpub Boojum & Snark - great place run by fantastic people. Hoping to get back there in 2021 (actually hoping just to get anywhere in 2021. Perhaps not Basildon though. But pretty much anywhere else).


A lowly three rates from me, but at least they’re from three different breweries. Nothing spectacular. Never been, although I’d like to.

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