Every year around August Earls Court becomes the world’s biggest pub hosting the always fun and educational (?) Great British Beer Festival hosted by CAMRA. Primarily focussing on the best of British beer but also playing host to some fantastic British cider and perry as well as international beers. I have been more times that I can count and have enjoyed myself every time as well as coming away feeling more knowledgeable about beer and my own tastes.

Most times I struggle to remember the next day after the GBBF which of the beers that I tried were good and is one of the reasons for me setting up this website. I tend to go on the last day of the festival (Saturday) which means that you can really take your time and enjoy the day rather than rushing after work. The only downside is that the stocks of beer tend to have either run out when you get there or run out when you are there with award winning ales normally sold out in the first couple of days.

That said I did find some notable ales to try: Blindmans – Sahara, Prospect – Silver Tally, All Gates – California and Thwaites – Wainwright as well as some personal favourites that have already graced these pages: Andechs Weissbier Dunkel and St Austell’s Proper Job IPA

“There’s plenty to occupy you at the festival, you can play on some traditional pub games, enjoy live music, sample some food, including good traditional pub snacks, and also attend tutored beer tastings.”

Personally – the real pork scratchings and venison pies were outstanding and definitely helped soak up the numerous halves that I was trying. Add to this bands, raffles and a lot of happy people and you have a great celebration of British brewing. What is lovely to see is a very broad cross section of people – young to old – men and women all enjoying the beer and the company. The Great British Beer Festival also has some what of a carnival atmosphere to it with lots of people arriving in fancy dress or silly hats and sending a cheer around the whole of Earls Court when a pint is dropped! If you haven’t been – make sure you book your ticket for next year!


Complete List of award winners at the 2011 Great British Beer Festival:

Overall winners
Champion Beer of Britain – Mighty Oak, Oscar Wilde (3.7% ABV, Maldon, Essex)
Second – Marble, Chocolate (5.5% ABV, Manchester, Gtr Manchester)
Third – Salopian, Shropshire Gold (3.8%ABV, Shrewsbury, Shropshire)

Mild category
Gold- Mighty Oak, Oscar Wilde (3.7% ABV, Maldon, Essex)
Silver- Rudgate, Ruby Mild (4.4% ABV, York, North Yorkshire)
Bronze- Coastal, Merry Maidens (4% ABV, Redruth, Cornwall)

Bitter category
Gold- Salopian, Shropshire Gold (3.8%ABV, Shrewsbury, Shropshire)
Silver- Teignworthy, Reel Ale (4% ABV, Newton Abbot, Devon)
Joint Bronze- Triple fff, Alton’s Pride (3.8% ABV, Alton, Hampshire)
Joint Bronze- Potton, Shannon IPA (3.6% ABV, Potton, Bedfordshire)

Best Bitter category
Gold- Houston, Peter’s Well (4.2% ABV, Houston, Renfrewshire)
Silver- Country Life, Golden Pig (4.7% ABV, Bideford, Devon)
Joint Bronze- Castle Rock, Preservation (4.4% ABV, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire)
Joint Bronze- Bollington, Best Bitter (4.2% ABV, Bollington, Cheshire)
Joint Bronze- Blythe, Staffie (4.4% ABV, Rugeley, Staffordshire)

Golden Ale category
Gold- Cumbrian Legendary Ales, Loweswater Gold (4.3% ABV, Hawkshead, Cumbria)
Silver- Salamander, Golden Salamander (4.5% ABV, Bradford, West Yorkshire)
Bronze- Holden’s, Golden Glow (4.4% ABV, Dudley, West Midlands)

Strong Bitter category
Gold- Moles, Mole Catcher (5% ABV, Melksham, Wiltshire)
Silver- Kinver, Half Centurion (5% ABV, Kinver, Staffordshire)
Bronze- Adnams Broadside (4.7% ABV, Southwold, Suffolk)

Speciality Beer category
Gold- Oakleaf, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Bitter (4.9% ABV, Gosport, Hampshire)
Silver- Amber, Chocolate Orange Stout (4% ABV, Ripley, Derbyshire)
Bronze- Orkney, Atlas Wayfarer (4.4% ABV, Stromness, Orkney)

Winter Beer of Britain winner (announced in January 2011)
Dow Bridge, Praetorian Porter (5% ABV, Catthorpe, Leicestershire)
Holden’s, Old Ale (7.2% ABV, Dudley, West Midlands)
Hop Back, Entire Stout (4.5% ABV, Downton, Wiltshire)
Marble, Chocolate (5.5% ABV, Manchester, Gtr Manchester)

Bottled Beer of Britain winners (sponsored by Hotel du Vin)
Gold- St Austell, Proper Job (5.5% ABV, St Austell, Cornwall)
Joint Silver- Molson Coors, Worthington White Shield (5.6% ABV, Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire)
Joint Silver- Brown Cow, Captain Oates Dark Oat Mild (4.5% ABV, Selby, North Yorkshire)

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