I am currently sat in the Olympia. Thousands (at a guess) of trade people and beery geeks with season tickets, or blagged trade tickets are milling around drinking thirds, half’s or pints of the numerous beers on offer here.
At the point of writing this paragraph, I have been here for just under 90 minutes, in which time I have drunk four thirds of beer from three different countries. They have mostly been disappointing.
My starter was from US brewery Sierra Nevada, a brewery that has a place in my heart for being the one that alerted me to the fact that there was more to US beer than Bud or Miller or Coors. The beer in question was Imperial Red, which, although nice, was slightly disappointing for me.
I followed this up with a third of De Molen‘s Rasputin, aged in Speyside barrels. The aroma was gorgeous. The sort of aroma that I could spend a whole afternoon taking in through my nostrils. I doubt that I will try a better beer whilst I’m here, yet it did have it’s flaws. The alcohol was slightly burning, and whilst it should have been a luxurious beer, it felt slightly to thin to feel luxurious.
After this I decided to go upstairs to try Melissa Cole‘s collaboration with Ilkley, Siberia. I’m sorry to say this, but based on what I tried today, I wasn’t that fussed. I believe I have a bottle waiting for me back in Southampton, so I’ll make a second opinion on that.
Beer number four was one of my wants of the festival, following Brewers Reserve No. 3 last year. Fullers Brewers Reserve No. 4 was somewhat of a disappointment. It didn’t seem to have the flavour and aroma that No. 3 had last year. I’ll be buying a few bottles to stick away and age, but right now, it’s my least favourite of the Brewers Reserves.
Since last writing, I have had two more beers.
Sierra Nevada Torpedo is on I had on cask last year. It’s a personal favourite of mine, yet I believe cask isn’t the best dispense method for it. I still enjoyed it though, and I believe it’s the sort of beer more British brewers should be making.
After this came Green King‘s 5X. Like Fullers Brewers Reserve, only one firkin is being made available each day of the festival. I much prefer this to the Brewers Reserve, and it’s a shame that Green King don’t produce this to sell normally, if only in bottles from source. It’s a delightfully delicious beer, and one that I feel would change with age.
After this I’m going to be mingling. There may be another update here, though I expect the next one may come when I’m at home.
Two more beers to add to the list. This time from Cantillon, including the Pure Apricot, which, whilst nice, wasn’t as apricoty as I’d have liked it to be. Since last writing I’ve also had a 20″ bratwurst, and I’m now eating some biltong. Time to return to those American beers….
My American bar return was short lived. I had a third of Lagunitas Undercover Shutdown Ale, which I quite liked, yet it wasn’t amazing. Whilst drinking it I walked around and encountered Melissa Cole, Zak Avery, and Krishan from Stirchley Wines. Also here is the team from the PO Vaults. Whilst talking to them, I got myself a third of Amber‘s Chocolate Orange Stout, which is a very nice beer.
Currently I’m drinking this years champion beer of Britain. Coniston No. 9 Barley Wine is to some a surprise victor. It’s a rather strong beer, given the traditional Camra stance. I happen to like it, though I wouldn’t drink it often.
Where I go after this I have no idea.
Where did I go after this? Well, for one thing I got to meet Boak and Bailey, of Boak and Bailey’s Beer Blog. After a bit of time talking to them, and Des De Moor, who was also talking to them, I went round to find Nate of Booze, Beats and Bites.
Amongst all this socializing, there was also more beer drinking, including two from the US bar, and Offbeat Brewery‘s Way Out Wheat.By this point I’d stopped taking notes.
After leaving the festival I headed to Cask with the aforementioned Nate, where I had a pint of Redwillow’s IPA, which was probably a mistake on my part, not that I actually finished it before heading to Richmond with the intention of visiting Real Ale, only to find it shut at 8pm.
After all this, when I finally got in, I opened a bottle of Camden Town Brewery‘s Hells Lager and then followed this with the bottle of Stringers Mutiny that I received from The Ormskirk Baron. It was a very delicious end to a very enjoyable day.
Roll on GBBF 2013!