It's that time of year again. The GBBF is nigh.
No doubt I'll be bumping into many of you at Earls Court next week. If I haven't made your acquaintance before, please do introduce yourself. You'll find me not unadjacent to the Bières Sans Frontières bar.
I usually gravitate toward the foreign bars at the big festivals. So it was at South West London CAMRA's Battersea Beer Festival in 2003. The venue was Battersea Arts Centre, a short walk up Lavender Hill from legendary craft beer bar "Microbar".
I was there with my friends Alex (who later went on to run Microbar) and Sarah, a regular customer.
We spied some unfamiliar weiss beers which obviously needed testing. We ordered three different ones. The chap serving ticked many of the CAMRA cliche boxes – scruffy, straggly hair and beard, keys and gadgets attached to his belt etc. I used to know his name but it escapes me now. I'll point him a out at Earls Court if you like.
Anyway, he opened the three bottles. He handed Alex and me our bottles to pour ourselves. He took Sarah's glass and was about to start pouring.
"It's OK thanks, I'll do it myself"
"But it's a German weiss bier"
"Yes, I know. I'll..."
"It's meant to be poured in a particular ..."
"I do know how to pour it. Just give me the bottle"
"You know it 's brewed with wheat malt and special yeast that imparts..."
"Yes I know"
"You have to pour it very caref..."
"Yes, I do know. Please could you give me the bottle"
By now Sarah was reaching across the bar. Her hands were on top his on the bottle and glass and they were sliding backwards and forwards across the bar.
But you don't understand, It's a German weiss bier, You need to...
Sarah could stand no more. Her voice raised to a "don't mess with me" level she met his gaze and said:
"I AM FUCKING GERMAN. I AM FROM FUCKING MUNICH. STOP FUCKING PATRONISING ME."
He let go of the bottle pretty sharpish.
You'll point him out? By just pointing at every third person behind the bars ;-)
I think you'll have some trouble finding "the Bières Sans Frontières bar". Maybe two life-sized cardboard cutouts to prop up the ones you're not at at any given time?
Yeah, there are technically four BSF bars this year, though two of them are next to each other. Guess which I'm working at ;).
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