Friday 27 March 2020

The Conference begins

It was a bit late last night. We were out until 01:30. I'm feeling slightly rough. Maybe the Bowmore nightcap was a mistake. Or one of those pints of Imperial Stout was a bad one.

I wander down for breakfast at 9:30, feeling a bit guilty about missing Pete Slosberg's talk. Martyn is already there.

"The brewery visit is on for 11." He tells me. I'd forgotten about that. But it was the day before yesterday we discussed it.

We're going to Alles Blau. Another brewery with a German name.

Ben, Chris and Stephen troll up after a while and Martyn asks them if they'd like to tag along. Stephen is working again. Ben is a definite, Chris a maybe.

Chris is still busy when our Uber arrives so it's just me, Martyn and Ben.

Alles Blau is quite a way out of the centre. And, in the age of satnav, surprisingly difficult to find. We drive straight past it and have to turn back. Surprising as there's a dirty great sign on the building. Though it is set back 100 metres from the road.

There doesn't seem to be anyone around. Then we spot what's obviously another group being shown around. After a while the guide, a young woman, comes up to us. Martyn tries to tell her that he's arranged to meet David. But she speaks no English. And disappears again.

A young bloke, presumably a brewer, approaches us. He doesn't speak English, either. But he shows us a translation on his phone. David can't make it.

We end up doing a self-service tour, just wandering around by ourselves.

It's surprisingly large. As have all the breweries have been so far.

While we're tucking into our samples, one of the other party comes up and asks in English: "Are you brewers?"

"No. We're beer writers and Ben runs a bar."

It turns out he is a brewer and had beers in the competition. He won silver for Vienna Lager.

The tour is supposed to cost 15 reals. But they don't charge us. Which is fair enough as they didn't really give us one.

I nip down to the little supermarket around the corner for some provisions. The relative prices here are weird. 150 gm of plastic looking cheese is 4.30 reals. 50 gm of crisps, 2.75 reals, 910 ml of cachaça 10.40 reals. So a big bottle of spirits costs less than four not very big bags of crisps. Crazy.

We're back quite early. And the beer festival doesn't start until 7 PM. I spend the afternoon writing up this shit. While sipping on cachaça. Purely for scientific purposes. It's not like I'm a total pisshead or anything.

I've arranged to meet Martyn in the lobby of the hotel. Where we spot Chris, so we trail down to the festival together.

Martyn has forgotten his badge. Luckily Chris can get him into the exhibition. Handy having a Portuguese speaker along.

It's way bigger than I expected. Loads of exhibitors. Bigger than even the NHC.

Thankfully some are serving beer. With whistles wetted, everything seems better. But we don't hang around in the trade bit long. Soon Chris is blagging Martyn into the festival proper.

It's huge. Bum. I had arranged to meet Doug. Will we be able to find each other?

Chris not only speaks Portuguese, he's also good at blagging us free beer.

I don't manage to spot Doug. Which is a worry, as he was going to pay me for the books I sold him.

Despite having dossed around most of the afternoon. I start to flag quite early. Perhaps influenced by the knowledge of an early start tomorrow. 7:50 pickup for a 9:00 talk. Best be in good form for that.

Mr. Bowmore waves me goodbye as I board the sleepytown train.

Cervejaria Alles Blau
Rua Dr. Pedro Zimmermann, 5180
Itoupava Central, Blumenau.

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