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Jul 30, 2009 01:39 PM

[London] Great British Beer Festival 09

London's various food and drink festivals are usually over-hyped and over-priced, but I love them all anyway. Just give me a fistful of tokens and a map and I'm happy for hours.

With that in mind, has anyone been to the Great British Beer Festival before?

Is it worth a visit, given that tickets seem to be relatively cheap?

Details here for anyone who's interested:

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  1. I go for a day every time and it is one of my favourite days of the year.

    The ticket covers entrance and then you pay for a glass (about £4) which you can keep replacing for clean ones while you try different beers and can then take home.

    The beer is very well priced (around £2 for a pint/£1 for a half) and there is a huge selection covering all regions of the country. It can get very busy, but there is never any difficulty getting served by the staff who are all volunteers from CAMRA and keen to recommend pints along with their favourite songs from Barclay James Harvest and Jethro Tull

    The atmosphere is always incredibly friendly and there are the usual pub food staples to soak it all up; pork scratchings, pies etc etc.

    It tends to split into two sections for me and my older brother. The first half, BC (before cider) is filled with beardy bonhomie and general good humour. The second half, AC (after cider) comes when we brave the cider and perry stands and can lead to much regret the following day.

    It is definitely worth a visit

    7 Replies
    1. re: Simon Majumdar

      Certainly sounds worth a visit. Thanks for the info!

      1. re: Simon Majumdar

        Thanks for the report. I know it will be rather sacriligious to drink American beer in the UK at a British beer festival, but they're going to have Redhook and Rogue on top. How can a Northwest girl say no? I'll be the one in blue Red Hook t-shirt.

        1. re: nanette

          Like nanette, I can't wait for my PNW hop fix at the BSF stand.

          FWIW, Real Ale shop in Twickenham are selling a fine range of American beers, including Rogue, Stone, Anchor, Dogfish Head (unless I drink it all) and many more!

          1. re: kidtofu

            Re Real Ale shop in Twickenham - does it sell Catamount by any chance?

            1. re: Snufflehound

              hmm, i don't recall any Harpoon being there but you could drop them a mail, they're lovely guys.

              if it's the IPA you want they have hella IPAs at the moment.

              *goes back to drinking his 90 minute DFH IPA*

          2. re: nanette

            Nanette - I go every year with my ale-drinking hubby and frequent the foreign beer bar. The range of American beers has gotten better over the years and I shall definitely be having a few myself on Friday when we go!
            I know Kidtofu mentioned the ale shop in Twickenham (great shop btw) but Utobeer always has a good range of American beers too, although I do prefer the Ale Shop solely for service reasons!

          3. re: Simon Majumdar

            I'm really wishing I could go this year. In addition to everything Simon says, one of my favorite bands of all -- The Oysterband -- is playing one of the days of the festival this year.