A couple of weeks back I made it down to The Great British Beer Festival at Earls Court in London for the 5th time running. The usual suspects were present and correct, with Cousin Iain, Nicola, and their friends helping Thursday night along after I’d flown down in the afternoon.
Friday was the main event, though, with myself, Iain and Charlie meeting up for a fine breakfast at Cafe Continente in West Kensington, before heading in to Earls Court just after 1pm. Much to our surprise it was already quite busy, but not so much that you had to queue too long at each bar. The bars themselves were differently laid out this year – in alphabetical order instead of the usual regional layout. This was initially confusing, as one of the Cornish breweries (St Austell) was where I remembered Cornwall being in previous years, so it took a while before I realised that they were in alphabetical order.
I could wax lyrical about all of the great ales we tasted, but the truth of the matter is that I don’t really remember. Not because we were staggering about in a stupor, but because the day was so packed with good company that it was easy to forget that the beer was meant to be the attraction. I think that’s the case at all good beer festivals, though – if the ales are fine and the company is good then it’s the best place in the world to be.
On Friday I flew down to London with my brother for my fourth time at The Great British Beer Festival and his first. With myself being low on finances this summer I had decided back in June that I wouldn’t be going this year, but Cousin Iain was kind enough to buy me a return flight, which left me only having to find spending money.
The flight to Heathrow and ensuing journey into London went without a hitch, and after meeting up with Cousin Iain and walking to Earls Court, we met my mate Charlie and wasted no time in getting in there for our first half pint of the day.
Tonight I’m back in the Park Plaza Riverbank hotel in London for a week or so as the project I’m working on enters the final phase. This time my reservation was recalled without question by the guy at reception, my preference for a quiet room was already taken into account, and, for whatever reason, I’ve gone up in the world – from the 9th to the 10th floor.
Turns out that, in addition to the chocolates provided on the 9th, on the 10th floor you get extra stuff left by your sink in the bathroom. I have a comb, a dental pack, a “vanity” pack (I do fail to see the vanity in q-tips, unless clean ear canals is now ranked up there with botox, collagen injections, and a back, sack & crack wax), a shoe polish pack, a little bottle of mouthwash, and a shaving pack to compliment the shampoo, body lotion, and shower gel trio that are regular fixtures.