It has been hot, nay hot and humid in Earl's Court. That's my first observation from a staff point of view and judging by the sweaty, red, flushed faces, the customers are feeling it too. Or is that just the drink? One old fashioned type among our lot measured the air temperature behind the German/Czech Bar. An astonishing 90F. And as humid as Hong Kong. That's made it hard for us. The customers at least aren't flying up and down serving beer. The staff all seem cheerful enough though and so do the punters.
Talking of beer, there was little discussion among us about the Champion Beer of Britain being a mild - maybe a few eyes were raised heavenwards - but those that react with astonishment might like to consider the make up of the final judging panel. I was told a few names. I don't know it in its entirety, but put it this way, some judging will fondly remember mild when it was much more widely available than it is now.
BSF has been split up and scattered across the hall, which has disconcerted and disoriented a lot of us. The geeks are vexed too. It has meant an expanded Czech selection for us and some are crackers, particularly the IPAs and the one infused with ginger. Some seemed works in progress, but show a lot of innovation and promise. The American cask beers have been roughly divided into two sets in my mind. The almost undrinkable and those that go further than just a ton of hops and over the top alcohol. I enjoyed quite a few of each and you know, the cask conditioning was spot on. That's an improvement too. I haven't come across the London Dark Lager yet though, but will be looking out for it today. Of other beers tried, two lovely draught krieks on the Belgian bar and one or two cask ales also seemed top notch, but that's all I have been able to try so far. Again the cellarmen have been on top of their game.
It has been very busy at times, but I have no idea of numbers through the doors yet. Trade Day was fun, with many old friends met and lots of people to chat with too. I won't say which well regarded beer writers were more or less completely pissed, as more or less, they all were. Bloggers too were numerous and sufficiently oiled to be going on with.
So, so far so good. Three days to go and though my feet are sore - the floor in Earl's Court is hard - 'm surviving. Today it is ten degrees colder and I have a night off. I might take E for a drink. Gunmakers and Craft?
The Great British Beer Festival at Earl's Court continues until Saturday.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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