Saturday, 8 August 2009

I have found my Mecca...the Great British Beer Festival...


And a good evening to you from across the Pond. Today, dear family¸I had a religious experience. Today I spent six hours in what is, pretty much, my vision of Heaven. Today I found my own personal Mecca. Today – I attended the Great British Beer Festival.

Imagine 450 ales, many of them room temperature casks (could there be anything better), spread throughout a space the size of Neyland Stadium. Picture 1/3 pint pours (which were actually half pint pours) for 90 pence (around $1.50 USD), followed by hearty Bangers and Mash (aka Sausages wedged into a three pound plate of potatoes, COMPLETELY covered in gravy). Imagine Sam Taylor ordering beers in Welsh and practicing the phrases he learned from Owain Morgan all week. What do you have? A recipe for one of the BEST DAYS since I joined Bank of America.

So I kept a running talley of all the beers that JT and I drank. I had 14 one-third pint drinks from various ales around the region (although they usually ended up as half pints, but we didn't argue). Some of the key ones:

1. Landslide – this was, simply put, THE BEST brewski we had at the festival – talk about LIFE CHANGING.

2. Criffel – Welsh, and so guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuud.

3. Celtica – Same thing

4. About 10 billion other Welsh brews

5. BOONDOGGLE – Ray – I couldn’t resist. I had to order a 1/3 pint and drink it in your honor. After all, we are livin’ the dream – SHAKE AND BAKE!!!!

This place was great. We spent most of our time hanging around the Welsh cask ale section (check the dragon and the two ladies enjoying the finest ales the Western nation of Britain has to offer), but we did wander about over the course of our 6 hours (best 8 pounds I’ve EVER spent), hitting lots of different spots. Each “section” of England had a set of tables, and the funniest bit was the section entitled “USA and the Rest of the World.” The beers of choice from the US? Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and…wait for it…wait for it…Terrapin Rye! How ‘bout those boys from Athens! Go Dawgs!

After we left the GBBF, we had a pint at some pub near the station (I had Staropramen from Prague). We then crossed off a spot that’s been on my list for ages – Kare Kare (Southern Indian). Kare Kare was on the original map that JT and I used to maneuver around London, as we’ve still got it (and look at the advert for Kare Kare every time we open it). Let this be a public service announcement – this place is AMAZING. TONS of sauce, tons of meat, cooked perfectly – if you like Indian – put this on your list.

Other highlights from the day:

1. We saw Liz’s flat – talk about the bomb diggity. This place absolutely rocks the party that rocks the pinata.

2. I met Katy Rowland, who is da bomb and was great company.

3. I finished Twilight book 2 (“New Moon”), which was WAY better than I expected and WAY better than the first book. I will admit – I’m addicted now and cannot WAIT to read the third installment. Muffin Puffin – hurry up.

Now we’re back at the flat and preparing for bed at 10:30 (yep, another romantic night in the Taylor household). Tomorrow will be a QUIET day, but hopefully we’ll get a lot of stuff booked and crossed off the list.

Okay, that’s all the news that’s fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


Sam and Jenny

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