|Image taken from here: http://gbbf.org.uk/|
I went to The Great British BeerFestival last year (2011), all alone because I have no friends. It’s hardly surprising, is it? I am joking; of course, I have lots of friends but none who like beer so much that they’ll travel 120 miles to drink it.
Even though I went alone, I had a bloody good day out. I drank some wonderful beers (don’t ask me which although I was wearing my Dark Star ‘Don’t Drink Hophead’ t-shirt that I won through a twitter campaign but I drank Hophead anyway, being the rebel that I am) and met some awesome new people who I’m still in contact with through the wonderful world of twitter. I also got to show off my awesome shoes that @BeeryMatt loved a lot (I may have to break them out for this year’s affair, actually).
Despite having such a great time in 2011, I wasn’t going to go this year with it being in London, during the Olympics but then I was offered a couple of trade session tickets by a very good man who I’ve never met. I just hope he doesn’t expect sexual favours in return.
Anyway, I looked at the beer list and thought I’d convey some of my feelings for your reading pleasure…
So I looked at the beer list and thinking that surely this can’t be even close to the final list, right? The only breweries that have more than one beer are Fuller’s, Brains, Greene King, Marstons, William Worthington, Thwaites and Well’s & Young in addition to the fact that a lot of key players in the brewing industry of today are missing, for example; There is no Dark Star, no Thornbridge, no Magic Rock, no Orkney, no Green Jack, no Summer Wine, no Williams Brothers… loads of others are missing too and the great breweries they do have, only have one beer each.
Is this CAMRA’s fault? Probably. The way I remember being explained to how beers are picked is that the committee of each CAMRA district choose some beers that they think are the ‘best’ in their district then send that list to GBBF committee for the higher powers there to choose what they want to showcase.
Just look at the Norfolk beers… there are only 6 and most of them are completely standard beers that flows with what all of the people I know who have a heavy involvement in the Norwich & Norfolk branch of CAMRA likes. Don’t get me wrong, there are a couple of alright ones in there; just nothing that really stands out to me. Certainly not beers I’d pick to show off to the rest of the country!
It’s bullshit because the vast majority of the higher powers seem to be older people who don’t like new styles of beer. They always seem to pick a shit load of milds, best bitters, porters, stouts and golden ales which have an average ABV of about 2.8% (not that ABV matters, for the record). The vast majority of beers you will find at any CAMRA beer festival have the aroma and flavour of stewed twigs, maybe with some nuts thrown in. They hate hops.
Don’t get me wrong, I like a good mild or any of the styles mentioned above but it gets really boring when you’ve got almost 800 beers of the same style!
Why did it have to change this year? Last year’s beer list was fucking outstanding.
Hopefully there are actually more interesting beers in addition to what they’ve put online but that remains to be seen; if not, they should let me drink Foreign beer all day because that list looks pretty sweet.
There are a fair few British real ales I am looking forward to, just not as many as I had hoped for. Some of these include: Ilkley Siberia (Collaboration with Melissa Cole), Offbeat Way Out Wheat, Saltaire Elderflower Blonde, Brodies Dalston Black IPA & Marble Lagonda IPA.
The foreign beers look great this year, there are quite a lot I’d like to try but I think that’s irrelevant right now as I’m talking about cask ale. A sidenote, however, is that there is a Thornbridge beer at GBBF… it’s Pond Hopper which is their collaboration with Odell and it’s on the Foreign bar.
Regardless of the lack of beers that I’m really excited to try, it’ll be a good fun day out and I’ll get to meet lots of awesome people who I’ve been discussing beer with on twitter for the past year or so!
What beers are you excited about?
Anyway, guys have a good week; enjoy International IPA Day tomorrow and hopefully I’ll see you all next Tuesday for some beers.