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Blog: The Great British Beer Festival

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I had a DELIGHTFUL time of it on Friday last, as I went to the Great British Beer Festival. It was, as advertised, GRATE!

I met Mr P Myland at Kings Cross Station, where I had just got off the javelin from Stratford and he'd just got off the fast train from Peterborough. We took the traditional route to Olympia i.e. got to Earl's Court, followed the signs for the Kensington (Olympia) branch, stood around, eventually realised that it only ran on weekends, found the sign saying a different route, and took that instead. MANY of us did exactly the same!

The Beer Festival itself was ACE, especially the way that you knew you were there because suddenly EVERYBODY had a beard and/or ill-advised shorts and/or a utility waistcoat and/or a t-shirt that only seems clever when drunk. And also a BEER BELLY.

There seemed to be a slight air of The Rugby Crowd inside, as people kept CHEERING in an brayingly posh way at random intervals, but I found that BEER quickly dulled this annoyance. The only other upsetting thing was that they DIDN'T have all the beers in alphabetical order like they do at Peterborough, they were grouped in nonsensical geographical groups e.g. Glasgow, Manchester and The Isle Of Wight all on one stand. What was the point in that?

Apart from those things everything was LOVELY. We met chums, compared some DELICIOUS beers, and had a Right Old Natter. At one point I saw two large gentlemen in their 50s go SKIPPING past, giggling and holding hands - this point MAY WELL have been several hours into the drinking period!

The most exciting part of the evening was when we went for a bit of a wander and ended up at the AUCTION! I've always watched this from afar, puzzled, as it has the distinct air of two particularly CAMRA-y old blokes who've fallen into a pub SKIP, taken out all the crap they can find, and decided to see if anyone is drunk enough to give them beer money for it. Up close, however, it is DEAD EXCITING. All right, the TAT they're generally selling doesn't get any better, but you become instilled with a DESPERATE URGE to BUY. Again, this was several hours into the drinking period, so that may be part of the explanation, but getting involved was BRILLIANT. I bought a hip flask and a shot glass, while Mileage got a beer towel (the fool! why didn't he buy QUALITY ITEMS like me?) and a bottle of Thomas Hoskins beer from 1983, which we both looked upon in JOY and WONDER, as that was the brewery in one of the first Leicester pubs we ever drank in. The BEST bit though was when two blokes got in a bidding war for a HIDEOUS pewter mug with a Naked Lady Handle. The whole crowd was geeing them on as bidding reached an extraordinary SIXTEEN POUNDS!

Around half past nine, however, I started to experience a strange feeling - UTTER DRUNKENNESS. This doesn't happen to me very often these days (SHUT UP it DOESN'T). Generally I get home well before BEING PLASTERED hits me, but this time I had a long way journey across London ahead of me, so I made my excuses ("I am drunk") and started off on the hour long trip home. When I got back I had somehow become MORE DRUNK (no beer had occurred on the way!) and woke up at 1.30am still on the sofa!

It's the sort of thing that used to happen all the time in my twenties - it was nice to revisit the situation, but CRIKEY I don't think I'd like to be as FEEBLE as I was the next day EVERY weekend!

posted 20/8/2014 by MJ Hibbett

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Last time I went Olympia (for record fair) I took the number 10 bus from Euston (it goes from Kings Cross too) straight to Olympia. Quite nice on a Saturday as well :) Got two beer festivals here in Manchester this weekend, spoilt for choice!
posted 20/8/2014 by Warren

UPDATE: Apparently Prince Harry was there that night, so it'll have been his lot being posh and shouting!
posted 21/8/2014 by MJ Hibbett

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