August’s Year in Beer trip, to Merideth’s slight dismay, is about real ale.
This trip brings us to England: truly one of the centers of beer in the world and oddly enough, a place we have spent very little time. All of our short visits have been using London as a stopover either on the way to somewhere else in Europe or coming home.
But for the Year in Beer we make up for lost time, spending eight days in England, mainly staying in London to attend the Great British Beer Festival.
We begin our trip out in the Somerset countryside with Real Ale Walks. This will be our first journey outside London and we be walking the Quantock Hills. We’ll enjoy the scenery, the exercise and some real ale. We also get to drive by Stonehenge on our way out there.
Each day’s walking takes us to a traditional pub for a pint or two of Somerset’s best beer. In addition, the Old Cider House, the guest accommodation, has a half-barrel microbrewery, brewing beer for the house and local pubs.
After a few days of acclimation in the countryside, we return to London for the Great British Beer Festival.
Sponsored by the Campaign for Real Ale, the Great British Beer Festival draws over 60,000 beer enthusiasts in a five day span. And unlike American beer festivals where you get samples, at GBBF, you purchase pints or half pints. We will be sure to find out if that is a good or a bad thing.
And much to Merideth’s delight, there is a foreign beer bar where she can get her beloved German lager.
We will also be volunteering for the Thursday day session, so if you are attending, we’d love to pull a pint for you.
Our plans only have us going to three of the sessions, giving us plenty of time to explore greater London. Our friend Paul, the cellarman at the Old Fountain, is setting up a few brewery tours for us, including Red Squirrel – something I am really looking forward to. Heck, we might have enough time to do tourist stuff like visit the Tower of London, ride the London Eye or take a Thames River cruise.
Whatever, we end up doing, I guarantee there will be plenty of real ale and good times.