Aug 09

CAMRA Couples Night

FT + Pumpkin Publog///9 comments • 354 views

Due to my impending trip to Edinburgh (of which more later), I managed to persuade a hardy bunch of FT regulars to accompany me to the GBBF for the opening public session last night, and it was a JOY in comparison to recent Friday visits. Reader, we almost didn’t need to have taken our dad stools with us!

You could get around easily, there was very little rowdiness, and very few bloody part-time tourist lager-drinkers in stupid hats people unused to the joys of ale. There was also a much closer gender balance than I’ve ever seen (we’re not talking 50/50 here, inevitably, but I’d guess 70/30 male to female? maybe 65/35?) and, yes, definitely more couples, rather than just groups of people (and a fair number of the groups were left over from the early afternoon trade session I think).

Also good to see that the Champion Beer of Britain is a Mild, although at 4.4%, it’s pushing it a bit (but then i like my milds subtle to the point of tastelessness). I don’t think any of the group got to try it, but I did have some pretty good (if randomly selected) bouze, nothing made my palate explode* with excitement/difference/wtf (i’ve gone off stunt beers a bit) although the Spire Dark Side Of The Moon (Peak District** bar) and the Holden Black Country Mild (W Midlands bar, obv) were both good chocolately, dense milds, just the sort of thing I like. I rounded the evening off with a personal favourite, a WHOLE PINT of lovely lovely St Austell Proper Job, which i know is a stinking kernow beer, but they do make a decent drop of ale down there, eh? Really hoppy and very dry aftertaste, I’d only had it in bottles from uttobeer/the rake, but it’s just as good on draft.

And we had a pretty good dirty crossword too, well done us!

*OK, nothing i drank made my palate explode, the pickled chili garlic from the Olives and Things stall did a pretty good job though (also, marvellous conversation starter with other people sat at our table).

**although why there are separate Peak District and North West bars, i’m not quite sure, as most of the PD beers were manc/cheshire/merseyside…)


  1. 1
    Pete Baran on 5 Aug 2009 #

    My two beers of the night were the Great Heck Dave, and the Evans Evans Cwrw (Beer), both of which were lovely session beers with little special about them, apart from just being NICE.

    But the Tuesday night was lovely and a friendly atmosphere. Bring on Tuesday AFTERNOON next year (I’m a licensee don’t you know, I didn’t realise I could get into the trade session for free…)

  2. 2
    scissorkicks on 5 Aug 2009 #

    I had a great night. Early part of the session at the Bieres Sans Frontieres bar – highlights being Smuttynose Robust Porter (hoppy American cask porter) and Braustelle Kolsch (unfiltered). Favourite British ales for me were Thornbridge Kipling (hops hops and more hops) and Harvey’s Tom Paine (usual Harvey’s sweetness, but 5.5% and pretty hoppy too). Back for another go on Thursday evening!

  3. 3
    Chewshabadoo on 5 Aug 2009 #

    I though milds were originally fairly strong beers though? 7% or more? The lack of hops is what make a mild a mild isn’t it?

  4. 4
    CarsmileSteve on 5 Aug 2009 #

    maybe we should ask this dude:


    (he has some choice words about the use of “original” and “authentic” here in particular…)

    i think, like most styles, the abv has been creeping back up (although not to C18th levels!), but i’d expect a mild to be below 4%, and, to my mind, ideally below 3.5%

  5. 5
    marna on 5 Aug 2009 #

    Was there as awesome array of pro-sexism and pro-alcoholism tshirts on sale as there’s been in previous years?

  6. 6
    CarsmileSteve on 5 Aug 2009 #

    oh hold on, here we are:


    sort of…

  7. 7
    Pete Baran on 5 Aug 2009 #

    Marna, lots of T-Shirts on sale, not many being bought. I only saw one Wychwood Lagerboy T-Shirt too. The corner may be turned.

  8. 8
    Kat but logged out innit on 6 Aug 2009 #

    The only one I saw was pretty bad: “if at first you don’t succeed, buy her another beer” etc. *shudder*

  9. 9
    Ewan on 12 Aug 2009 #

    I got a photo of a modest selection, which I don’t think have changed since c1994, and I’m not entirely sure anyone bought any.

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