"It's not much but it's ours"

Sunday, August 08, 2010


It's that time of the year again when Dos Hermanos don their comedy breasts and tummy combos (whaddya mean, you thought they were real?), eat Pork products and drink beer. Actually that sounds like a normal day for DH, but it is in fact is what we get up to on our annual visit to the Great British Beer Festival.

This year HS is currently travelling around the US doing a sort of Man vs Odd Animal Parts and in this battle it sounds as if he’s aceing it. So in his place I enlisted the help of Paul, a mutual friend and long-suffering York City fan (is there any other sort) and his Spurs-supporting (booo) buddy, Marius.

Being from the North, Paul suffers from hypoglycaemia if not given constant injections of carbohydrate-based foodstuffs. So instead of the usual heavy–duty gym session followed by a protein shake or an egg-white omelette we opted instead for a very hard tube ride followed by something called a “bacon buttie”.

For the breakfast venue I had chosen The Troubadour in Earls Court which was a bit of a destination for folkies during the Sixties. Dylan played there, so did Paul Simon and also the fabulous guitarist Davie Graham. Now it’s a pleasingly ramshackle sort of all-day brasserie affair with adjoining wine shop. Our young French waitress, while sweet enough, got into the spirit of things by being a complete hippy and forgetting our fried eggs in our rolls. Still, once we got them it wasn’t too shoddy with decently cooked bacon and eggs and they brought both types of sauce.

Last year the queue before Midday, when the festivus kicks off, was up one side of the Earls Court but this time it was twice as long. Luckily, once the gates do open, there’s a blur of grey with wrinklies moving like they’re outside the Post Office on Pension day. Us young’uns have a hell of a job keeping up. These days the queue is now shepherded down through the bowels of the exhibition centre which at least gives me a chance to crack a few Tap gags (Hello Cleveland!).

Once inside the vast space the crowds disperses and for an hour or two at least one can enjoy the pub games, traditional pub snacks like Pork Pies and Scratchings and the many beers on offer. Speaking of which we started with a few pints of Mild - the official DH ale of choice – which were pretty good, even the Greene King one.

This year I went a little off piste this year by trying some other styles. Castle Rock’s Harvest Pale was the Champion Beer of Britain. It’s a pretty light, quaffable, golden ale although like a lot of beers these days it’s pretty ‘hoppy’. It was a bit too sweet for my taste.

There was also the visit to the Cider and Perry stall halfway through precedings where I almost had a bit of a ‘Curb’ moment as I waited for people ahead of me to sample what seemed like every bleedin’ one. Me, I went extreme with a half of Perry whose name now escapes me but was probably something like “Sheep’s Scrotum”. What didn’t escape me was the 7 point something percentage strength and a dryness rating of 7. My mouth will never trust me again.

Eventually there’s the sound of a glass breaking, followed by the inevitable cheer which is the signal for us to start thinking about a few last beers before taking our leave. This year I wanted to try a non-British beer. I suggested an American beer and Marius suggested a stout.

The kindest thing I could say about King Oak Milk Stout from Massachusetts
was that at least it was served at the proper temperature. Otherwise it was, as our Mam used to say, “All fur coat and no knickers”. Towards the end of the glass it was like drinking tepid coffee. Not pleasant.

To be fair some of the UK’s newer beers leave me a bit cold as well - I’d swap them all for a perfect pint of London Pride. Mind you, as I said to Paul as we battled our way out against the incoming hordes, if the low point of your day was getting a beer you didn’t like then you’re doing pretty, pretty well. Roll on GBBF 2011.


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Anonymous Helen said...

I loved the beers but everything I ate was awful. It's such a shame. Maybe they thought everyone would be so pissed it wouldn't matter.

Sunday, August 08, 2010 1:21:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...


Yes the food options are a bit grim but that's the way at beer events, they're only there to soak up the booze. A lot of people bring their own stuff.

I thought the Pork Scratchings were good and a Cornish Pasty was ok (after a few pints).

There's a lot of scope for some proper food stalls but don't hold your breath, given the glass sponsor ship it looks like CAMA are going down the commercial route. Expect to see a Subway next year.


Sunday, August 08, 2010 1:45:00 pm  

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