The Olympia is indeed a grand hall, the glass roof letting in tons of natural light – well, 85 tons of glass in 2,500 plates apparently. It felt welcoming and spacious over the two floors, at least on the opening afternoon we visited.
It’s estimated over a quarter of a million pints would be consumed over the next few days, so we had to make an early start, roll up our sleeves and get stuck in.
The main draw for me had been the foreign beers, in particular Deschutes, a brewery from the USA whose beers I became very fond of during a trip around Oregon, so my first beer was their Doc Watson, a brew with a solid body of caramel malt nicely balanced with cascade hops.
I followed that with the dark delights of Left Hand Black Jack Porter, a sweet and smooth beer full of rich, roasted malt flavours.
But by the end of the day, some of the most enjoyable beers I’d tried had come from much closer to home. Superb beers from Allgates, Brimstage, Brodies, Gadds, George Wright and Kinver to mention a few…
It was pleasing to see some of my favourite beers from East Anglia win awards – a bronze in the Mild category for Son of Sid Muckcart Mild with Green Jack taking gold in the bitter category and silver overall for Trawlerboys bitter.
It could have been easier to view the beers on the website beforehand, but no complaints from me about the range of breweries and beers – I enjoyed every beer I tried, tried many and still left wishing I could’ve tried more. Maybe that’s looking at it through beer-tinted spectacles, but I drank plenty of good beer, met plenty of good people and appreciate how much hard work goes on behind the scenes. Cheers!
Even the antics of Skinner’s Betty Stogs and the accompanying racket of the marching band were tempered by some tuneful singing from the Cornish choir.
Finally it was time to leave and head for home.
“The pack on my back is aching,
The straps seem to cut me like a knife”
Clearly, the Stone Roses had also raided the fridges at Bières Sans Frontières.
Here’s a review of GBBF 2012 from Beer Talk