Wikio - Top Blogs - Wine and beer The Real Ale Girl: And one thing led to another...

Monday 2 May 2011

And one thing led to another...

I don’t really go in for all that detox lark but if ever my body has been crying out for one it is now.  What a mighty few weeks we have had. Any normal person would have come back from a weekend of 60+ different beers in Sheffield (well documented in my previous post) and drunk tea, eaten toast and watched some telly. We proceeded to fit in as many pub trips and beer festivals as we could without causing our relatives to stop speaking us.
A trip to do a boot sale near my parents’ in Kent led to a mega cider tasting (and purchasing and then drinking late into the night) at Middle Farm somewhere in Sussex.
A cooking class in Central London led to a visit to the new Old Red Cow in Smithfield Market. Well worth popping into, this is the brain child of the marvellous folks behind the glorious Dean Swift near Tower Bridge.
Meeting up with an old pal led to the pub quiz at the Grape and Grain in Crystal Palace, packed to the rafters, triumphing in such sad times of pub closures.
 A casual night round Real Ale Bro’s led to a mega tasting sesh of his Meantime College Beer club wonders.
A couple of days later, we moseyed on over to the (Stoke Newington) Jolly Butchers’ first birthday party with its amazing range of special, made for them, birthday beers, where I fell in love with Evin ‘Kernel’ O’Rhiordan’s baby.
With the brewers from Ascot and Windsor & Eton
and 'Beer Justice' Steve at Ehgam Beer Festival
Then came the Egham Beer Festival, and boy do those dudes know what they are doing. £1.35 a half for the some of the most unusual, exciting, beautifully crafted beers around. I go to a lot of festivals and I drink a lot of beer. I often struggle at festivals of this size to find anything new to drink. I struggled to find something I’d heard of, it was that well sourced a range. So good, that the brewers themselves turn up to see how their beers are going down!  I’d read about Egham fest but never made it before. If similarly, you’ve never quite made it I urge you to go. They make it easy by having three fests a year. And I promise you I am not on any sucking up mission or on any commission, just p***ed off it took me so long to go.
Then to Planet Thanet in Margate (via the Sportsman in Seasalter for a gourmet father-in-law’s birthday lunch and the delights of the gorgeous Lifeboat in Margate itself). Since our last visit to the festival a couple of years ago, the organisers had come to their senses and let us outside and also came up trumps with an impressively diverse beer selection. The Wantsum and Ramsgate joint venture Low & Behold, a 2.8% tax reducing beauty, was the perfect beer for basking in the sun- bags of flavour yet light enough not to exacerbate the sun stroke.
Back to work for a few days, and all the fun started again with Bexley Beer Fest at Sidcup Rugby Club. I wrote in depth about this lovely festival last year and again they did’nt disappoint. The added oomph of Royal Wedding brews went down well and 6 of us did a conga to the folk band while everyone looked at us with scared bemusement.
The Royal Wedding day itself saw us drinking cans of Brew Dog Punk IPA in Hyde Park at 9.30am. Quite an experience, especially as the cans look like cheap lemonade.
I woke up the next morning craving ginger and couscous (is that my own detox recipe, afterall?) Bt instead we had more beer. Hiding in the tasting rooms of the Draft House on Tower Bridge were Melissa Cole, female beer writer #1, Stuart Howe, head brewer at Sharps, and a whole lot of secret, and mightily strong, special Sharps’ beers. Stuart entertained us with his amusing stories of wierd beer creations and boy, did the selection he brought with him change my mind about the sort of beers available with a Sharps label (Massive Ale, Top to Bottom 69 Hop, Monsieur Rock... who knew?).
Finally, with the Sharps 23% Turbo Yeast Utter Abhorrence From Beyond the Ninth Level Of Hades II (yes, the full name) doing its thang, we headed over to Leyton for Brodie’s Bunny Basher Festival. I’ve never been shy to bang on about my love of these guys and their wonderfully weird and ever inventive ales. It now seems that this quirkiness has spread into the food offering too- rabbit burgers on the BBQ? Weirdos.
So, the bank holidays and random days off are all done and dusted. Back to a more sensible level of beer consumption then. Head says ‘Darn it’, liver says ‘Hurray’.


  1. It was great to see you at the Sharp's tasting, hope you had fun, I think I had too much!

  2. It's always good to see photographic evidence proving that one had a good time when one's memory is slightly hazy .....Steve

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