Friday, 5 August 2011

CAMRA Great British Beer Festival - Part One



It's the time of the year where old beardy blokes, young hipsters and confused tourists get together to celebrate the wonderful world of beer. Yes the CAMRA Great British Beer Festival at Earls Court is upon us once more. I've planned carefully for this year – mainly by taking a weekday off work to go.

It's always fun explaining to co-workers what you're doing on a day off to go to a beer fest. I find it best to have a code so your colleagues don't think you're a beer crazed alcoholic. Unless they once caught you vomiting onto a cat after the Christmas party. Then they probably already know. Below is an example of a good coded response. I've changed names to protect the innocent.

YAY WE FOUND REDTUBE!
Me: “Oh hi Horatio”
Horatio Xavier Hufflepuff III: “Going somewhere nice for the weekend then?”
The Best IT Manager in the World (Me:) “Yeah I'm taking my CAMERA to a beautiful EARLS COURT. I better HOPS to it.”
Hufflepuff: I assume by that series of awful puns you're off to the beer festival then.”
Me: “Yes.”
Hufflepuff: “I'm named after a Harry Potter character.”

Unfortunately the only day I had free was today (a Friday) which is a gamble as it'll most likely be mobbed and the beer might run out. To mitigate the damage I decided to take a little “preview” of the festival yesterday evening with a fellow overworked manager. Getting there at 7:30pm I immediately recognised that something was off. There was a tremendous amount of people wearing sharp suits and appalling pink shirts. It seems the GBBF is now a corporate event favourite. Or maybe it always was. Once inside it was like walking through the stock market floor from the end of Trading Places but the only commodity is sweet sweet beer instead of pork bellies and frozen orange juice.
This picture was taken in Nevada

The place was absolutely rammed. I would of taken pictures for evidence but screw that, there was beer to be drunk. I can't remember all the beers I drank but two stood out. The first was the Sierra Nevada Porter mainly because it cost a knee-knocking £5.40 a pint. Luckily I didn't have to pay for it. It was actually a decent drink from our debt ridden American cousins. I'm not a huge fan of porter but it was very suppable with a good malty flavour and a nice hint of caramel. There is no way I would pay £2.70 for a half though.

At this point I met one of my colleagues friends who had been drinking pints since 1pm, and just to prove that he was completely sozzled he called me a “handsome man” and congratulated my Jamaican heritage before staggering off bleary eyed but happy into the distance. Nice chap.

The second was the Bathside Battery Bitter by the Harwich Town brewery. I was actually hoping to try the Oscar Wilde (the Champion Beer 2011) but despite signs to the contrary it was sold out. The Battery Bitter was hopped to hell and back and all the better for it. Very fruity, very tasty, very refreshing.

I actually only had about five half-pints as the place was so busy. I also took some time to enjoy a German sausage. A 20 inch sausage was on offer, leading to lots of hilarious innuendo eliciting smirks from absolutely nobody.

Anyway I must dash. I'm supposed to be back at the beer festival in a couple of hours and I'm currently sat in my pants typing out this nonsense. Best get dressed I suppose!

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