Well its that time of year again when GBBF comes around, and with less than a month to go im just a little excited.
Now much as i love my UK cask ale, what really gets me worked up about GBBF is the BSF (Bières Sans Frontières ) First of all there is an amazing list of US Cask beer that i would just not see any other way, but there also an amazing amount of bottles from around the world and every year i end up buying 60 bottles to take home. Now just take a moment to think just how much 60 bottles is and how much that weighs. Luckily i don't need to drag them all back to Scotland by train, but even getting them to Winchester where my sister lives in just one go is quite a good work out :-)
Now having just seen this years Beer list for BSF i can assure you that we are all in for a treat again this year. All told there are 540 beers on the list (all be it some of those will be doubles between bottle and cask) and while the US bottle list doesn't seem to have much new over previous years, the Cask list of CHOC FULL of new and interesting beers along with a great selection of old favourites.
One beer i will let slip, because i was so gutted to have missed it Copenhagen when that "bloody ash cloud" ruined my trip is De Molen Hot and Spicy, im a huge fan of De Molen , im a Huge Fan of chilli so this Smoked Imperial Stout with Madame Jeanettes. (These are chilli peppers from Suriname) Sounds just my thing.
Once again though i have limited time at the festival, i will be spending a little of that time working the US Bar and generally helping out. I love doing this, Its a great chance to meet some great beer people, try some great beers, maybe even get a free T-shirt (cheers to Alex at Revelation Cat last year for the cool shirts) and a chance to put a little something back. So if your a CAMRA member maybe you can think of volunteering even if its just for a few hours. They need people to work all the bars as well as a large range of other jobs (I tend to spend Wednesday morning before they open washing glasses, you can bet there's loads needing done:-} )
Saying that most people who work the festival put a lot more hours in than i do, many work for several day, and they're all volunteers, many who have also given days of there time to help set up and take down this huge event.
So remember to be nice to these people without them, GBBF and BSF would just not be possible.