Monday, August 31, 2015

Great British Beer Festival at Olympia London

Actual date of this event: 14 August

Making plans in London takes quite a bit of work. Because everyone lives all over AND it can take 45 minutes to an hour to get somewhere AND many people travel on the weekends, we have to plan things with our friends well in advance (sometimes this can be three months in advance). We usually plan dinners out at a new restaurant with friends because it is a safe option, but it isn't the most social activity, so we have lately been trying to change it up. One thing we planned weeks ago was to attend the Great British Beer Festival. I really wasn't sure what to expect, so it was a nice surprise to see LOTS AND LOTS of taps. Everywhere!
The majority of festivals in London require a ticket purchased in advance. It's quite frustrating to pay to go to an event, and then pay for everything in the event without receiving a single thing for free. BUT the reason why London does this is because it discourages most people from wanting to go. Otherwise, free tickets would sell out very quickly OR the event would be unbelievably crowded that it would not be fun. So we paid for a 10GBP ticket just to get into the venue. Oh, and I guess to also use the bathrooms.
When we arrived, we purchased our beer glasses for 3GBP each which you could either keep at the end of the night or return it to get your money back (we kept one, of course). Then we went around to the different bars deciding which beer to have. The glasses had pint markings so you could have just a little bit or a lot. I tried 1/3 on my first round, but that was way too little, so I stuck with 1/2 pints the rest of the evening. Luke, of course, went for full pints the whole night.
The festival included over 900 different beers (and also ciders and perries) from all over the world, so it was incredibly different to decide. The majority of the beers were cask, but there were some keg and some bottles as well. Brewers only brought one cask/keg of each beer, so many were finished for the night making it easier to choose, but it was also disappointing when one was no longer available - Earl Grey IPA, Chocolate Cherry Ale,, and practically all 50 or so of the American beers were finished first. Go figure! We enjoyed hanging out with friends, eating delicious food, and trying new beers for the evening.

After the band played, they did last call and then kicked everyone out at 10:30pm. Kinda early, but the festival had been open since noon, so some of those people needed to leave. We could have stayed for longer, but when lots of beer is involved, most of us need someone to tell us to go home and go to bed, right?

Olympia London first opened at the end of 1886, and has never needed to be rebuilt due to war damages.

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