The Great British Beer Festival

I'm not much of a festival girl, primarily because it involves camping. Camping would be fine it involved a memory foam mattress, an en-suite bathroom, free wi-fi and room service - do you see where I'm at?

However, there is one festival I am a very active participant in - beer festivals, primarily the CAMRA Great British Beer Festival which is held in London every August. 




I started drinking real ale in the early 2000's, when one of my friends got a job as a bardude in a real ale pub near my flat in Worcester. I went to go hang out with him one night at work and he taught me all about real ale, made me try lots of different kinds and I inevitably fell off my bar stool at 11pm. Good times.

Since then, and since moving to London, I've made a habit of seeking out pubs that serve really good beer; preferably real ale but I'm willing to give most beers a go. I can point you to a decent pub in London very easily, in most boroughs too - I've done the leg work (and if I haven't, I can recommend an app that can!). 

As soon as I moved to London in 2007 I started attending the GBBF in Earl's Court (as it used to be, it's now homed in Olympia) every year, I have a great range of their festival glasses now: 

I always look happy when I have beer in my hand

Basically it's a day out full of beer and unhealthy food. It's awesome. It's like the perfect day.

Oooh look, lunch!

Top tip? Get a pint glass. You can get half-pint glasses and what not but as I tend to try the beers in halves or thirds (sensible, otherwise you fall down within 2 hours) if you have a pint glass you will get a little more for your money. Just saying. It's a helpful tip. Get a pint glass. You're welcome. 

There's many ways to deal with a beer festival - you can work your way around the bars (usually set up in regions), aim for a particular type of beer (I don't like ones that are too hoppy, but I only like a little bit of porters and stouts) or aim for a theme. My friend Alison challenged me to drink ales with as much reference to Harry Potter as I could find (just so you know, there are a lot of them). I also made a point of seeking out fruit beers, coconut porter (yes, that exists, and it's all the from Hawaii!) and there's always the challenge of finding the most ridiculous flavours (the winner this year was double chocolate and bacon ale - oh Hogsback Brewery, you are a bit mental!).

 




CAMRA hold festivals all over the country, so if you're not in London don't feel left out, have a look on their website for lists of all upcoming festivals and some suggestions of good pubs in your area where you can get stuck in to some good beer too.
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