Into the imaginary room I call my imaginary office, the location of which varies from week to week, my imaginary editor walks in…
“It’s been almost four weeks since the Bash and you’ve still not written a post about it yet. Your work rate on the blog has been distinctly lacking recently” he says.
“I’ve been busy”, I reply.
“Balderdash!”, he exclaims, “All you’ve been doing, when you haven’t been at work, is been lying on your back watching old episodes of The X Files, or drinking more beer. There’s been plenty of opportunities for you to write a blog post about the 2014 Birmingham Beer Bash, and besides, you found time to write a new Friday Pint post”
“Erm,” I hesitantly utter, knowing I have no come back.
“Well?” he asks in anticipation.
I sit at my netbook, wondering how to segue from a fictional conversation about my lack of professionalism with my imaginary editor into a descriptive account of the events of four weeks ago. Can I remember enough of the details to make it worthwhile. Do I have anything to say that hasn’t already been said before?
I should just jump into it, I think to myself. Start at the beginning and see what my memory comes up with. Is my trip out to Lye to visit The Windsor Castle, home of Sadlers Ales, to drink Mud City Stout relevant? In many ways it is.
You see, Lye is near Stourbridge, and one of the reasons I came up for the AFC Totton away match at Stourbridge was so that I could also visit The Windsor Castle and drink Mud City Stout. There was also a twissup in Birmingham that day, where I met a certain group of people.
I joined the set up for this year’s Bash on the Wednesday, helping out where I could. The fact that we seemed to have one of the hottest days of the year so far didn’t really make things enjoyable, but the end result made them worth it.
The heat caused a few issues over the weekend, which I only saw from across the way behind the bottle bar. Some of you may have seen me there. It was certainly good to see some familiar faces, and some less familiar ones.
One of the fun aspects of working the bottle bar for me was seeing how much I could bluff my way out of the fact that there was a large number of the beers on sale that I hadn’t tried. Fortunately, I was soon able to tell people that Beer A was selling well, or that Beer B tasted good (In the case of Sacre Brew’s Sirenia).
For me, what made this year’s bash better than last year’s bash was that I was able to get out and talk to people more. Last year I was stuck in the cash office for large amounts of time counting tokens and money. This year, it was Lisa that took on that soul destroying task, for which credit must be given (Those fresh trays don’t appear behind the tokens desk by magic you know).
I had many beers this year, though only a few stand out.
Wild Beer Shnoodlepip, which I missed out on last year, finally made sense of the hype it received after it seemed disappointing from the bottle I bought. (Having tried another bottle last weekend, it seems that Shnoodlepip is a beer that is far superior on draft to it’s bottled equivalent). Despite drinking a fair bit of Shnoodlepip, I do feel I didn’t have enough.
Siren Odyssey 01, was a glorious 12.4% imperial stout, which I found myself often returning to (for quality control purposes). At some point on Friday night, the idea (I can’t remember whether it was mine or Shaun’s) came to mix Shnoodlepip and Odyssey. The result, which actually worked rather well, was dubbed Shnoodlepipodyssey.
The other beers that I wish to mention, are the two squid ink beers.
The first one I tried was the Beer Bash/Hardknott collaboration “Squiddy”. You may have seen “Squiddy” walking around the Bash at a couple of points over the course of the Bash. If you didn’t, picture your worst nightmares made flesh, like the underwater imitator of Purple Rain era Prince. I feel kind of bad saying this about one of the Beer Bash collaborations, but I just didn’t enjoy Squiddy at all. It wasn’t really helped by the fact that it’s appearance seemed similar to murky puddle water. I’m all for not just judging a beer on its appearance, but in this case, it was hard not to be put off.
The other squid ink beer, which proved itself to be the “Marmite Beer of the Festival” was Bexar County’s Tinta De Sepia Con Miso Gose. I, myself, loved it, as did many others. There seemed to be just as many though, who couldn’t stand it. Of the many beers I tried this year, this is the one I’d like to try again.
On the Sunday, after two and a half days of set up, and two and a half days of people drinking beer, the whole thing was taken down. The after party this year was a much quieter, more relaxed affair than last year, with a constant (slow) flow of beer until the half full kegs we brought with us were empty.
I left town on the Monday, thinking in the back of my mind that, should there be another Bash next year (we don’t talk about next year), I should be around for the setup days that I missed this year and last year. Being part of the Birmingham Beer Bash has certainly been an enjoyable and rewarding experience, and I hope that it is something that runs for years to come.
If it does run again next year, I’ll be there. I’ll be there in future years too, if it runs, even if it means having to fly across from America each year.
If you’re reading this the day, or day after, it is posted, there’s a Beer, Blues and Bangers festival at The Platform Tavern in Southampton this weekend, starting on Thursday 21st August at 18:00, and running through the weekend (or until the beer runs out). I’ll be there Thursday, come and join me if you’re nearby.
If not, I’ll probably be writing something about it for this week’s Friday Pint. Until then, have a great weekend.