Archive for December 21st, 2007

The wonderful world of beer blogging developed further in 2007, with lots of good beer writing around the globe. There is more beer good beer  journalism on the web than in print now, and I admit that I’m not able to follow all the beer blogs out there.

Some members of this fraternity have the advantage of writing in their mother tongue, which makes for better grammar and a more elegant language than I am able to muster. They even avoid the basic spelling mistakes.

There was a historic moment during the Pig’s Ear Beer Festival when three beer bloggers from three countries met, Stonch from England, The Beer Nut from Ireland and your correspondent. (You might wonder if the beer world is populated by persons with funny names. They are actually called Jeff and John!) Good meeting both of you!

I’m afraid maieb had just left the festival when The Beer Nut and I arrived. Maybe next time?

And we missed Alan, too, the Godfather of beer bloggers.

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More expensive than Norway?

The runaway inflation in Zimbabwe means that you have to have deep pockets to carry enough money for a beer. This is from Richard Byrom on flickr – a beer in now one million Zimbabwe dollars, that is the stack on the table! Thanks to Lars Marius for showing me this.

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So, what did the beer festival have to offer? About 50-70 beers on tap at any time. The attendance was low compared to last year, which meant that the casks were not rotating as fast as estimated. This frustrated some of the tickers (although the range was fine by me!), and no doubt the organisers had plenty of beer left over at the end of the event.

Some of my personal beer highlights of the festival were:

St Mary’s Stout from the St Jude’s brewery

A Christmas Beer from Anglo Dutch

Nelson‘s Christmas Blood

Hornbeam Black Coral Stout

Quite a few breweries had made special beers for the festival, like Saffron, who had two very good beers on cask as well as a few bottled ones. The emphasis was firmly on smaller breweries, with the exception being festival sponsor Wells & Young’s, who had their own bar (which was not very busy, they had not bothered to put on any special beers.)

There were old fashioned pub games, there were t-shirts. You could have your name engraved on the souvenir glass. There was quite decent food to be had in a side room. Beer Inn Print had a stand offering a fine range of beer books, magazines, posters, pump clips and whatever else collectors could fancy.

But the turnout was low, someone said they had only half the number of visitors they had last year. One reason might be technical problems last year, but there are other aspects, too.

I was not the youngest person in the room, but the majority was probably older. Something must be done to appeal to younger drinkers – and I am sure CAMRA is aware of the problem.

The location is probably a hassle for some people, too. Hackney is out of the way for most Londoners, there is not even a tube station in the area. This means changing between different modes of transport and spending more than an hour each way for many. This is not an obstacle for the dedicated beer geek – but it will deter some of the more casual visitors who would want to combine a visit with doing something else before or after the festival.

As for me, I had a great time, meeting people from ratebeer and the beer blogging community as well as others, swapping tall tales and views on beer and other important aspects of life. I will surely make an effort to go back there.

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