Destinations

British beer festival gets underway

Robin Millard - AFP

Drinkers have raised a glass to the UK’s booming brewing scene as the Great British Beer Festival gets under way.

The number of British breweries is at its highest for 50 years, with 1,285 now in operation – 325 of which were serving up their finest ales at the festival, which transforms London’s Olympia exhibition hall into the biggest pub in the world.

Real ale has enjoyed a renaissance in Britain over the past five years as more small-scale brewers opened up and urban hipsters latched on to craft brewing.

Some 55,000 drinkers are expected to attend the five-day festival, staged by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale.

The event raises a glass to beer brewed using traditional ingredients and left to mature in the cask from which it is served, as opposed to industrial-scale, pasteurised lager fizzed up with carbon dioxide gas.

Some 900 different brews were on offer, with beer experts guiding seasoned ale lovers and curious first timers alike through the myriad varieties of styles and flavours.

Some beer names are simply descriptive, such as Chocolate Cherry Mild, Oyster Stout, or Lemongrass and Ginger.

Others stretch the imagination, such as Edith and Mabel, Schrodinger’s Cat, Amnesia, Hop a Doodle Doo, Holy Cow, What the Fox’s Hat, Skull Splitter, Trembling Rabbit, Dark Side of the Moose, or Pressed Rat and Warthog.

Besides British beers, there were guest tipples from European brewing heavyweights such as Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic, but also countries including Jamaica, Japan, Iceland and Italy.

Meanwhile ciders and perries – made from pears – were also on offer.

Drinkers could choose between a pint glass (568 millilitres), a half-pint glass or a one-third glass, which allows drinkers to sample a wider range of styles without having to swill down a full pint.

Grey-bearded ale fest veterans in faded t-shirts and shorts mingled with younger men in the party spirit, decked out in sombreros and pink flamingo hats.

Punters were trying their skills at old-time pub games including table skittles, roll the barrel and crown top shives: throwing a bottle top through the hole in a beer barrel.

Some drinkers in high spirits even formed impromptu rugby scrums.

Beer-lovers also munched their way through piles of traditional pub snacks, such as pork scratchings, pickled eggs and sausage rolls.

CAMRA chief executive Tim Page said modern drinkers were more open to trying new beers rather than sticking to the same brew.

“Come and try it. Forget the stereotypes about old, pot-bellied, bearded, sandal-wearing men,” he told AFP.

“The bloggerati and the hipsters are interested in new, exciting craft brews and we have a lot of that here.

“Twenty-year-olds rebel against their fathers’ tastes, and they were the missing generation attracted to lagers — so now their children are turning on to real ale.

“The wine industry has been clever and intellectualised wine; perhaps we ought to do that for beer,” he added.

“The modern drinker is interested in good beer. We’ll show you the difference between what you’re drinking now and something even better.”

Cwtch, a best bitter-style beer made by the three-year-old Tiny Rebel brewery in Newport, southeast Wales, was crowned the champion beer of Britain. The Welsh word, pronounced “cutch”, means “cuddle” in English.

“Cwtch is our modern version of a traditional bitter, with extra hopping for a more pronounced bitterness and aroma,” explained the brewery’s co-founder Bradley Cummings.

Silver went to Kelburn’s Jaguar, a golden ale, with Dancing Duck’s Dark Drake stout winning the bronze.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Destinations

Tripadvisor names top 10 foodie experiences worldwide

Because what’s a Friday without a story filled with pictures of delicious food from your pals at Travel Weekly?

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Air France to welcome its first female CEO

This is a huge win for the airline industry, considering only 12 out of 286 IATA airlines are run by women.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

ATTN AGENTS: Royal Caribbean launches its biggest incentive yet!

Just when you thought all the exciting end of year incentives were over, RCL has gone and blown our expectations launching their biggest consultant incentive yet.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

The off-the-grid cabins every city-slicker is dying to book

by Melina Gouveia

Ditch the commitments, heed the call of the wild, and cure your nature deficient disorder with these swanky cabins.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Let’s make Poke! Hawaiian Airlines’ industry guests join Chef Lee Anne Wong in Sydney

Hawaiian Airlines hosted a fun promotion at the Sydney Cooking School recently inviting guests including key travel industry partners to meet Hawaiian Airlines Executive Chef Lee Anne Wong

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Why Hawaii is the perfect destination for conferences and incentive groups

From lei greetings and a backdrop of palm trees, to white sand beaches and championship golf courses, the Hawaiian Islands are the ideal destination for memorable meetings, conventions and incentive programs.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

What’s new in Kauai?

Check this list to see what’s happening in Kauai, Hawaii.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Sizzlin’ December news from the Island of Hawaii

As winter weather arrives on the continental United States, the island of Hawaii’s golden beaches, tropical weather, fresh cuisine and bounty of activities beckon visitors to experience it all.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Big Fat Hotel Wrap

Buckle up, because this is possibly one of the longest hotel wraps we’ve ever done. And if you read it slowly enough, you might be able to procrastinate until the weekend!

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

TTC CEO John Veitch tips Egypt as “the hot destination” for 2019

And that’s not just because of the temperature! Though we assume it would also be very hot climate-wise, considering it’s mostly desert.

Share

CommentComments

Road & Rail

Big Fat Road & Rail Wrap

We’ll save our usual procrastinating joke because this road and rail wrap is short and sweet – so you’ll have to find another excuse not to do any work today.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Start packing lighter: Aussie airlines are now weighing carry-on bags

However, there’s no rule to stop you wearing everything you own to thwart baggage weight restrictions instead. Well, not yet.

Share

CommentComments