DOS HERMANOS DO THE BEER FESTIVAL: KEEPING IT REAL ALE
I can't speak for HP, but for me, my "life" day at The Great British Beer Festival is one of my favourite days of the year.
Mainly because of the people. It's easy to mock real ale drinkers and their beardy bonhomie but there is an infectious enthusiasm that soon picks you up and carries you along in a vapour trail of hoppy goodwill.
This year, the GBBF has moved a few miles down the road from Olympia to Earl's Court to cope with demands of growing crowds and the huge rise in the numbers of artisnal brewers ( there are more now in the UK than in the whole of North America ) and I have to say the move is a welcome one.
It is beautifully organised and, despite the fact that there were huge queues when we arrived we were inside and on to our first beer within five minutes of meeting up.
There are two stages to our day at the GBBF. BC ( Before Cider ) AC ( After Cider ) the latter stage is inevitably a blur but, I do recall about 10 1/2 pints ( mostly of mild ) some wickedly strong perry, some dodgy pork pies, a fabulous Old Spot pork sandwich and, of course, some pork scratchings.
But, as I said, most of all, it is about the people. There are obviously the wilfully eccentric, but there are also some genuine characters. Best of all was Machete Eddie, a cheery visitor from the US was attending all five days of the fair. When we met him, he had sampled 84 beers and was planning to try 130 in all during the festival. Of course, he was planning to visit a whole lot of pubs as well once the fair closed.
I had been for a long run in the morning and it caught up with me a bit. As we left the festival the fresh air hit me and I was reeling. Thankfully in a true " he ain't heavy, he's my brother" moment, HP saw me safely back home where a few hour's kip saw me feeling in decent enough shape to go and face a big old steak at Hawksmoor. But, that's for the next post