The Great British Beer Festival has descended and from today onwards beer aficionados will be able to sample the delights of some of the best beers around at Earls Court exhibition centre. Visitors will be invited to enjoy everything on a beer theme from live music to traditional pub games and snacks as well as some ‘tutored beer tastings’. Industry reports have recently announced that beer sales have started to increase for the first time in 4 years and the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is hot on the tail of locally produced sources. It has even been reported that the idea of a ‘beer belly’ is a myth and ‘brewing expert’ Professor Bamforth has claimed ''The major source of calories in any alcoholic drink is the alcohol itself, and because beer is the drinks category with the lowest average alcohol content it is also lowest in calories.''
Beer and real ale is enjoyed by drinks experts and chefs alike. Oz Clarke greatly enjoyed his trip with James May across Britain for their show on BBC2 last year, ‘Oz and James Drink to Britain’. James was rather surprised to discover that Oz knows just as much about beer as he does about wine and their journey involved everything from an exploration of micro-breweries in Derbyshire to discovering just how many hops it take to make a pint. As Oz explained, “People built villages, and towns, and cities, solely so they could brew!” James’ take on the whole affair was thus, “Wine is a philosopher's drink - have enough and you'll start analysing a teapot. Beer is made to slake an Englishman's thirst, after he's spent all day building things.” Oz also took a trip with Hugh Dennis at Christmas in an attempt to sample all Christmas delights from sherries to winter ales. It was so successful that Oz and Hugh will be filming their own series this year.
Old Spitalfields Market even announced their search for an official ‘ale taster’ in May and an ambassador for local ales – an unpaid post but perfect nevertheless if you enjoy your ale. A similar position was last held in the nineteenth century in an attempt to ensure that all ale was of the highest quality, which resonates with CAMRA’s current work in the UK. Other fans of real ale include Gordon Ramsey who detailed his passions for ‘good English ale’ in his new book ‘Gordon Ramsey’s Great British Pub Food’. Saturday Kitchen’s James Martin also loves his ‘Beef and Ale’ pie and even Brian Turner was joined by chef friends Ainsley Harriott and Antonio Carluccio for the launch of his very own ale.
Britain’s biggest beer festival comes to an end this Saturday so if you decide to head on down enjoy, enjoy!
Copyright Speakers Corner 2017