Great British Beer Festival 2006
This week is a big week in every real ale drinker's calendar - the Great British Beer Festival. This year it's being held at Earls Court, having (allegedly) run out of space at Olympia. Whatever the reason, it's certainly a good move from the accessibility point of view - Earls Court is a lot easier to get to than Olympia. One question that I will be interested to find out the answer to is how well it works with everything in one space. At Olympia the festival was spread out over three connected halls. There is a danger that the noise from the music stage (what the hell is this doing at a beer festival anyway???) might disrupt the drinking.
I'm not working at GBBF this year. Last year I did a couple of days working behind the bars (all the staff are volunteers) and, while it was fun, I didn't feel the urge to do it again this year. It can be a bit "cliquey" - the same bunch of people work together every year, and if you're not part of the gang, you don't fit in. I reckon it would be different if I could afford the time off to be able to work the whole week, but that's not going to happen in the near future.
Anyway, I'll be visiting the festival at least twice. I'll be there on Tuesday afternoon for the Trade Session. As someone who works at a club listed in the Good Beer Guide, we get an invite to this session so we can sample the beers before all the rabble get let in! I'll also be around on the Wednesday evening and maybe one other session.
I expect I'll be concentrating on the Bar Nouveau bar (beers from new breweries) and the Bieres Sans Frontieres (foreign beers including draught beers from Japan!). I hope the food stalls are as good as before - I remember some gorgeous pork pies and, of course, the garlic-stuffed olives!
Maybe see you there!