The Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) 2013 is happening in London from August 13 – 17, 2013. I had a great time when I went there a couple of days ago. The GBBF, the flagship event of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), offers a huge selection (over 800) of real ales (cask conditioned beer), ciders and perries (made from pears).
This First time Guide to the Great British Festival is very handy for anyone looking for advice to make the best use of their time and money – get a pint glass, but drink only halves or even thirds (I got a half pint glass), look for session ales (around 4% alcohol), start at the lighter end and move to the dark ales as the day wears on, and you get a wider range of beer earlier in the week. When I went on Fri evening, the lightest ales had already started running out. More guides for the GBBF are on these blogs as well – Pete Brown, Tandleman’s Beer Blog, and A FemAle View. If there is one thing I would add to these guides, at the cost of stating the obvious, it is – make sure you know where the restrooms are!!
The GBBF is also a great place to try out some typical English food, exotic food (Kangaroo burgers, wild boar burgers, or ostrich burgers), and some chocolate and cheese as well. Most people do not go to a beer festival for food, but then it’s good to line the stomach when you are drinking alcohol, isn’t it? So, we ate a kangaroo burger, some crisps (Karnataka Black Pepper from Pipers Crisps – see image below) tasted some chocolate (from Merry Berry Truffles, stay away from the Scorpion chocolate) and some cheese (from Truckle Cheese Co. – loved the Blue Stilton, and the Chili cheddar), as we sampled some beer.
The best £2 anyone can spend is on the Programme booklet – it lists most, if not all, beer served along with tasting notes, origin, and type of beer. I could not have survived the GBBF without the programme booklet.
The award winning beers at the GBBF 2013 are:
- Gold: Elland – 1872 Porter (West Yorkshire)
- Silver: Buntingford – Twitchell (Hertfordshire)
- Bronze: Fyne Ales – Jarl (Argyll)
For more details on the winners in the respective categories, see this page.
The beers we tasted were:
- Pedigree New World Pale Ale (a Pale Ale from Staffodshire) with 4 % alcohol by Marston’s; had a crisp, refreshing flavour.
- Dorothy Goodbody’s Meadow Queen (an Amber Ale from Herefordshire) with 4.3% alcohol by Wye Valley. The tasting notes say “Brewed with Meadowsweet – a sweet smelling herb” . This was too bitter for my liking.
- Hopspur (an Amber Aler from Greater London) with 4.5 % alcohol by Redemption. The tasting notes say ” chewy biscuit malt flavours, slighlty sweet with roast malt throughout. Citrus and pine flavours with a bitter finish”
- Gulpener Korelwolf (a wheat beer from Belgium) – because I was in search of a wheat beer and could not find any from the UK. Were there any at the GBBF 2013?
The Great British Beer Festival is a great place to taste and enjoy some British real ale. Even if you aren’t into beer, it’s a great place to hang out with friends – there are fun games and memorabilia too! If there is one thing I ought to have done at the GBBF 2013, it is to have tasted some cider and perry. There is always a next time, right?
Here are some pictures from GBBF 2013:
Related post on Not Just Vegetarian:
Note: The Post titled “First Timer at the Great British Beer Festival 2013 in London” first appeared on Not Just Vegetarian