Why you should go to the Great British Beer Festival #gbbf and what to do when you get there.

Take a bunch of friends, and when you get your festival pint glasses, charge them only a half or even a third full. Share with anyone who doesn’t have a cold. Yes, the Great British Beer Festival (#GBBF) is on this week in Earl’s Court, London, and if you have any interest in beer, you should go. This next couple of short posts are to give a little guidance to the GBBF newbie or ditherer. Let me explain…

Next year, Earl’s Court will be a venue for the Olympics, afterwards, it will be demolished to make way for flats, or a BrewDog craft beer bar, or something else. This venue is practically hallowed ground; I have seen Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, and Genesis here. I foolishly missed Pink Floyd’s The Wall here. You could have seen Oasis here, too, had you not been in Sweden. For one final week only, starting 2nd August, it will be the home for the biggest pub in the world.

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GBBF is great and intense beer fun. You can come here and beer tick, or have a pint of your favourite with your workmates. Or something in between. There is no right way to do the festival (although there are a couple of wrong ones). Like the best pubs, there is a real mix of people and the demographic is getting noticeably younger. Stuffy, as has been accused by BrewDog? Not a chance.

Speaking of whom, there’s been a bit of BrewHaha (TM) surrounding the appearance and withdrawal of BrewDog at this year’s festival, but hey, that was a good bit of publicity for CAMRA and the messiahs/very naughty boys of British Brewing. Even if you are a staunch supporter of the BrewDog party line, you’ll be missing out if you don’t go, because there is some brilliant beer of all descriptions.

Don’t know where to start? The GBBF website is very helpful, dividing the beers into British Ales, Ciders and Perries, and International Beers. You can browse the list of breweries, get some tips, and compile a list to take with you of stuff you want to try.

Things really are changing in Beer Britain and this is reflected in the list of cutting-edge breweries: Thornbridge, Redemption, Bristol Beer Factory, Brodies, Dark Star, Fyne, Hawkshead, Kernel, Marble, Otley, Williams Bros… All are brewers of modern, innovative, interesting and above all, really delicious beers. And these are just the ones from Britain.

Start making your list, and come back here for some more tips from the list of International Beers.

Book your tickets online here and print them at home.

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