Thursday, 14 August 2014

Great British Beer Festival 2014

Things worked out well for me at the GBBF this year. I met all the people I planned to, as well as a few I hadn’t, I made it to the IBD meeting on hops, off loaded some books I’d brought up for a mate, and I even managed to drink some beer. Which is probably for the best as the meeting on hops was a little disturbing.

The rise of craft beer, with its higher rates of hopping means that it’s now approaching the stage where half the American hop crop is going to craft brewers. As craft beer sales continue to rise real hop shortages are looming, so contracting ahead for hops is highly recommended.

Even more worryingly three more British hop growers have packed it in, so overall acreage is down over 8%. As there are so few British hop growers left  every loss makes a difference. The one glimmer of hope is that the craft beer boom means exports to the US are picking up, particularly of East Kent Goldings.

As to the beer I'd started early at a do put on by Sharp's, and the Atlantic IPA was most excellent, the fact it was free being balanced by the fact I was drinking it before noon so couldn't just get guzzling. At the festival seeing Harvey's Prince of Denmark on draught I couldn't resist it, the beer having the flavour of a historic Imperial Russian Stout at an intensity I can cope with. There may have been a couple of other beers but they're the ones that stood out. As usual I stayed longer than I'd planned but I managed to pace myself well, and took lots of water, so had a cracking day without unduly suffering when it was time to get up the next day.

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