Gold medal to GBBFBy Steve Heighton
This years Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) was my 30th consecutive year of working and I can say it had it all. With the CBOB being awarded to a 9% abv Barley Wine you knew it was going to make its mark. With the Olympics on, you could be forgiven for thinking that having to take up residence at Kensington Olympia, without a linking tube ride, that visitor numbers would drop. Forget it. They came in there droves and this year you can claim it was the international beer event of the year as there were visitors from all over the world, quite literally. This gave the skilled bar staff on my bar new challenges as we tried to interpret lingual requests but a quick taster here and smiles all round always came up trumps.
This years return to the popular Olympia venue with its superb glass room and beaming sunshine (as it shone on the righteous, or at least my bar) there was an immediate upbeat feeling. Bar 9, my bar, had most of the usual diehards working and it was great to see old friends but it was soon all hands to the pumps as the thirsty customers soon found out the ales we had were superb. There were so many new brewers and beers on the bar it took a while to find out what to recommend but product appreciation soon helped out with this! Olympia is a big venue and with its upstairs bars and drinking areas it was a much more relaxed and comfortable experience for punters this year but it didn't stop them working up a hefty thirst. For me as usual it was a great chance too trying Scottish beers and they took the usual hammering from me. Even better when the Chairman's wife, the lovely Aileen, serves you with typical Scottish pleasantries.
Upstairs in the free bar a chance to catch up with the strong Coventry contingent added to the experience as we once again, as is the case every year, someone on the PA system was eating rocks and not a single word could be heard, don't know why they don't just fix it or give up on it. Goliath the main man and organiser was concluding his reign of terror, sorry tenure and he will be a tall order to follow. There was the usual talk of moving away from London, but this year there was renewed gusto, possibly because of Goliath stepping down and it has to be said there is a lot of enthusiasm to go back to the rejuvenated and now impressive Birmingham. There is now enough digs to put us up, venues to hold it a, people to staff it and Brum is now a good place to visit after a massive change in its pubs favours since the demise of Ansells and M&B. To be fair its also due a change of City.
As I travelled in on my last day, Saturday, past the hordes of Brazil fans on the way to the Volley ball at Earls Court the throng of people going the other way to Olympia was heartening. The huge queue was soon inside and it was another very busy day. My bar, who were the star turn in my opinion was down to its last barrels but due to the quality we were still very busy. As more tourists and Olympic fans piled in the atmosphere was superb and the day although tiring became very enjoyable. That's what makes the GBBF and the Olympics the same. Both have an amateur background but performed with the greatest effort and usually putting their professional counterparts to shame and giving them something to think about!! If there were gold medals to be given out then Graham Collier, Pete, Dave, Albert and June (the 3 Yorkies), Mark, Phil, Pete, Skid, Ju, Ang, you would all have got one for the bar of the Olympics.
So next years GBBF is now eagerly anticipated with some definite changes coming in and who knows possibly a City change. I would urge you all to go to the Birmingham Beer Festival in October, add your support with a beer and let them know if you want it back in the second city.
|02/06/2013 - Stockton beer festival|
|Stockton's first beer festival.|
|14/05/2013 - Rugby Beer Festival|
|Rugby Beer festival coming soon.|
|09/05/2013 - The forecast for the weekend is Mild|
|This Saturday is National Mild Day and to celebrate this Rugby CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) and eight pubs in town have joined together to promote the West Midlands Mild Trail and this exceptional style of beer.|
|11/04/2013 - Latest Pint Sides Now Available|
|Pint Sides Spring 2013.|
Next Branch Meeting:
|Wednesday 19/06/2013 - Branch Meeting at Seven Stars at 20:30|
What's On Tonight: 20-06-13
What's On Tomorrow: 21-06-13
|Social||- Nuneaton / Bedworth Beer Festival|