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In the bright sunshine, thousands of real ale fans made their way to the Olympia Exhibition Centre for the return of the ever popular Great British Beer Festival. The Festival is organised by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and is the most prestigious Beer Festival held in the UK.
Over the next few days, over 50,000 people will attend the event, and this year they will be spoilt for choice with over 900 real ales, ciders, perries and foreign beers available to taste. Despite the decline of pubs in certain areas, Beer is enjoying something of a renaissance in recent times and a walk around the festival provides plenty of evidence of the incredible choices available.
The Beer Festival takes place across two halls; the Olympia Grand and the Olympia National. Each hall has a number of bars serving real ale from hundreds of breweries of all shapes and sizes across the UK, there are a number of brewery bars where you can try both well-known brews and limited edition beers from some of the UK’s biggest and best real ale brewers including Brains, Charles Wells, Fuller’s, Harveys, SIBA, St Austell, Tiny Rebel and Titanic.
The rise of the Tiny Rebel brewery is evidence that small breweries can compete with the major breweries. Tiny Rebel was only launched in 2012 but managed to produce Cwtch that was declared CAMRA Champion Beer of Britain 2015.
The festival may support British brewing, however it attracts a wide range of international draught and bottled beers from the likes of Belgium, Germany, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Holland and Malta. The United States is considered the home of the Craft Beer and the festival features the American Cask Bar which offers a wide range of beers from all over America. One of the great changes in beer production in recent years is the proliferation of microbreweries from all across the world who have created a whole new range of products bringing together the old and the new.
The Great British Beer Festival is easily the UK’s biggest beer festival , but it is not only quantity but quality that appeal to many of the drinkers who will find some old favourites and new beers to tempt them. Visitors to the festival come from all over the UK and the rest of the world, for many it is an annual pilgrimage to enjoy the beer and the friendly atmosphere.
Although the beer is the main focus, the event has a carnival atmosphere with plenty of entertainment including live music, food, seating areas, and traditional pub games to enjoy. The Festival also keeps beer drinkers up to date on the latest campaigns by CAMRA, for all of the resurgence of beer drinking, pubs all over the country are closing at an alarming rate.
Although the Beer Festival attracts its hardcore real ale connoisseurs, there are many who just take the opportunity to try the different range of beers and enjoy the atmosphere. With its reasonable entrance fee, it represents very good value for money to anyone who wants to find out more about beer from around the world.
Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended
If you would like further information or book tickets , visit the GBBF website here
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