Wikio - Top Blogs - Wine and beer The Real Ale Girl: St Albans 09 and a very starstruck real ale girl

Sunday 4 October 2009

St Albans 09 and a very starstruck real ale girl

Was nursing a slightly sore head this morning, but I think that has more to do with Saharas nightcub in Lewisham than the St Albans Beer Festival. Nothing sore about that place!

A swift, and surprisingly bargainous train journey from the stunning St Pancras took us to St Albans, home of CAMRA. Last years festival was great and I was ready for another good session.

Boots meal deals in hand, we made our way over to the Alban Arena and enjoyed a queueless entry (well, it was 1.30pm!) It was also free entry for CAMRA members- another excuse to try even more ales. The glasses were served by other young real ale girls which I was excited to see- we are growing in number, and it also meant they didnt try to force me into a half pint glass. One of the best things about this festival is the time of year it is held, as it means lots of Autumnul ruby beers, porters, stouts and really flavoursome milds- my favourite was Tring's Mansion Mild and Cropton's Honey Gold was pure caramel in a glass.

We found ourselves partcipating in the quiz, a raucous romp through the beer list in the form of a general knowledge challenge, and I soon ended up on a busmans holiday by marking lots of quiz papers on stage. We didn't win, but did jolly well for a team of 2 youths! We also got a free botte of Trings Death or Glory just for taking part. What a deal!

The rest of the afternoon passed in a warm swirl of addictive ale (except Alehouse's Robust Porter- DON'T try it!), lookalike spotting, getting mistaken for a volunteer, weird harmonica players, and old people stressing over spilt drinks that were coming nowhere near them.

Then ... Roger Protz arrived for Good Beer Guide signing. All ideas of meaningful ale discussion and seamless promotion of Real Ale Girl disappeared as soon as I tried to speak to him, having turned into a giggling teenager. I was behaving like I was meeting Take That. Justified really, though, he is the writer of the most useful book in the country and a moustached hero. He also happily posed for photos- a meeting of 2 groundbreaking real ale writers. Legend.

Somehow I managed to regain my strength enough for the walk back to the station (the chilli con carne helped too.) Can't help thinking the meeting didnt have as profound an effect on Roger...


  1. Maximillian told me Roger Protz was about 70. 70?! He's a looker! No wonder you were excited!

  2. I'm upset that there was no mention of your auguste company at the Alban Arena last year.

  3. I'm sorry, Stu my dear, but I did spot you on page 31 of the GBG!