Having a full weekend of sporting activities to occupy me I was only able to make the Friday of the Beer Bloggers Conference in the Brewery in Chiswell St. I took my camera, thinking i may not have 100% recollection the next day and this is what I saw:
The brewery was a fantastic location for the conference...
but all was a bit quiet when I arrived.
The ice bucket led me to my first beer of the day, unfortunately the clear glass bottle meant the beer was more lightstruck than the doctored sample later.
After that I avoided skunk alley.
I found something really rather nicer. Worthington's Red Shield was a refreshing zesty citrusy blond beer that was superb when matched with the salmon later in the evening.
However the best beer of the reception was Sharp's Single Brew Reserve 2010 which is a single hop beer made with Bobec. A riot of pineapple, toffee apple and lemony zing.
Lunch was served.
As you may expect with beer bloggers there was plenty of nosing the beer.
The Hardknott clan were there. Dave was refusing to look at the camera...this was to be a recurring theme in the photos I took!
And who knew the depth of love this man had for his little bear?
Just time for a Brain's Black Stout, from a can with a widget, more Murphy's than Guinness but I can imagine it going down very well watching some rugby.
We went upstairs to kick off the main event.
A welcome from Scott Wilson from Molson Coors the main sponsors. I gained some respect for these guys over the day - they talk a good game about craft beer.
Peter Haydon from Meantime delivering a fascinating talk on the history of London Brewing.
David Sheen from the British Beer and Pub Association, looking somewhat perplexed about his statistics.
A great panel on the Do's and Don'ts of Blog writing. I suspect I'm breaking at least 3 or 4 rules in this blog!
Melissa Cole adding a bit of glamour with her oversized ring...or is it a knuckleduster aimed at Shepherd Neame? Scary face there Melissa!
Next up was a beer fault tasting masterclass, or a faulty beer tasting class perhaps. The girls from FlavorActiV struggled with some facts.
Any joke about Carling being the main fault in the beer is in the minds of the reader.
The beers laid out for dinner.
The food in general read better than it tasted. Nothing too bad but somewhat under seasoned.
I was lucky enough to be on Stuart Howe's table.
The beers on the other hand were in general fantastic.
Chalky's Bite was better than the Grolsch with the starter.
At this stage I was lubricated enough to forget to take pics for a while.
DW was a great beer but the Red Shield was a better match for the salmon.
The Brew20: Gorse Strong Ale was best with the dessert, with Blue Moon being positively awful as a match.
Syringes...were we about to start mainlining the beer?
Ah that makes more sense.
Best beer name of the night: Turbo Yeast Utter Abhorrence from Beyond the Ninth Level of Hades III Actually not a bad beer if you could get over the grappa like smell.
A great speech from Steve Wellington, what an absolute gent as well.
Is that a tear in Pete Brown's eye when Steve announced his imminent retirement?
All that was left was to hand the party over to Václav Berka from Pilsner Urquell who brought many casks of fresh unfiltered beer with him. He was moving way too fast for my camera but led us all to a great party downstairs.
All in all a great time was had thanks to Mark and Allan (who must be a vampire as I have no pictures of him!) for their organisational efforts. Shame I could only be at day 1.