A Right Honorable Beer Festival

In case you haven’t noticed, I enjoy my beer. Not just to pound beer after beer, but to be able to enjoy it and sample many types. I believe I’ve also mentioned the organization CAMRA, which is the largest single issue lobbying organization in the UK whose sole purpose is to petition to keep British Ales alive. Once a year, they hold the Great British Beer Festival, a very very large festival of “Real Ales” in London’s Earl’s Court convention center. To put it gentlely, it’s freaking huge. They had 450 different types of beer, most of them in kegs. To make it a little less chaotic, they organize the beers in two ways. Most beers are grouped by region. So there’s a section for beers from Northeastern England, beers from Wales, the Peaks District and so on. They have an international section as well. The larger brewers are also able to have their own sections which comprise the section grouping of beers. This year, the festival occurred during Adrian’s birthday and, since he’s a lover of beers as well, he chose to come up to London with Dina to celebrate at the largest pub in the world.

Now, this being a place with a shitload of beers, we needed to have an approach to how to choose our beers. We decided to hit as many regions as possible. So then, it was a matter of hitting a region and choosing amongst the 25-30 beers from that region. The festival had some descriptions for each beer, but they were not always the most useful. If we could not find a beer based on the description or some pre-existing knowledge of it, well, to be honest, we picked based on the name and whether it seemed interesting or not. At the end of it all, this approach worked quite nicely. We only ended up with one beer that was truly not very good. Here’s a little peek at it all:


A view a bit from above. One drawback of having such a huge collection of beer and people is that the choices of location can be a bit limiting. Earl’s Court isn’t the most soulful place in the world, but it did the trick. CAMRA managed to lay things out nicely enough though. This was the Wednesday night crowd. I don’t know when the busiest day of the festival was, but it got more crowded than when I took this photo.


This would be one of the regional bars (Mid-West England, to be exact). Note the multitude of kegs behind the fine gentleman serving up the beer. Can you imagine a single pub having this many beers? Well, this was just one of about 15 bars, each having their own selection of beers. It was interesting to see how people approached all of this. Many people just seemed to pick a region and start drinking. So, around the bars, there were crowds of people just hanging about.

Anyway, I didn’t go last year and I was quite pleased to be able to go this year. And, we got to celebrate Adrian’s birthday as well! Happy birthday Adrian! 🙂

One Response to “A Right Honorable Beer Festival”

  1. Mom and Dad Says:

    Will it still be going on next week? Dad hopes so!

    See you soon.