I usually like to write little reports about my travels in search of beer. But I've been very lax of late. Been too busy.
The Kimchi Farm Festival, the first anniversary part of Truman and last weekend the Borefts Festival. All events I've been too busy to write about.
Maybe you think I'm about to put that right. Well, not really. Sort of. This will be a very brief write-up.
The Kimchi Festival must be one of Amsterdam's best-kept secrets. Held annually on an urban farm, wedged between railway lines and an industrial estate, it's billed as a food festival. But there's quite a big beer element. One which seems to be growing. They have the usual local(-ish) suspects: Oedipus, Two Chefs, Butcher's Tears, Pampus and Rooie Dop; but also Oersoep from further afield and home brewers.
The small plastic cups are a bit annoying and a double measure rarely seems any larger than a single one. The food is quite pricey, too. On the other hand, it's a great setting and it's easy enough to bring along your own food and drink. Which is what we did. Got the best table in the garden again, too.
I really shouldn't be telling you about it. Don't want you grockles clogging the place up next year.
A couple of weeks back I took Dolores for a whirlwind visit to London. Mostly just to drop by the Truman's first anniversary party in Hackney Wick. We flew in Saturday morning and back out again early Sunday evening.
I showed her the high life again with curry down Drummond Street. Seven quid for all you can eat (vegetarian) plus BYO booze from the supermarket opposite. Not even Wetherspoons can match that for value. Then we were off to Greenwich. Not to see the observatory, Cutty Sark, the Naval College or any crap like that. I'd a date for a few beers and a chat with Rod Jones in Greenwich Union. And to marvel at the lovely label collection on the wall. Lots of old Eastern European ones, which are amongst my all-time favourite designs.
Next day I showed Dolores the Olympic Park. "Look, there's the Olympic Park" I said as we got off the train at Hackney Wick. It's true, you could see the back of the olympic stadium and that hideous pile of scrap iron that looks like a bomb-damaged helter-skelter. And then proceeded to drag her through an industrial estate, past a stinky skip yard and along the side of an urban motorway. And Dolores says I never take her anywhere.
Cask Ben Truman was the main reason I'd traipsed over. A beer I've dreamed of trying, I've seen it so often in Truman's logs. P1B as it was called in the brewhouse. Bit more prosaic. The beer didn't disappoint. Firmly hoppy but still drinkable by the pint. Well, if you're a pisshead like me.
Derek Prentice surprised me with the bestest present ever: a 1913-1914 Truman Brick Lane brewing log. I was speechless, which, after a few beers, is a rare occurrence. I'll never be able to thank him enough.
The other reason I was over - apart from getting a chance to meet Derek Prentice again and the boys from Truman for the first time - was the London Keeper. It's a late 19th-century Double Stout. At 8% ABV, it's the perfect afternoon session beer. At least that's the way I was drinking it. We only had a couple of hours before needing to dash to Liverpool Street.
There we dashed around the Tesco, plonked ourselves on the Stansted Express and let out a sigh. Just time for a pint in the airside Wetherspoons before getting on the plane.
Just one event to go - last weekend's Borefts Festival. One of my favourites, with one important proviso: that I take my own glass.
There are always loads of people I know there. Can be a bit of a disadvantage. I'd go to fetch a beer and bump into several acquaintances on the way to and from the bar. I was sometimes gone for more than an hour. That's one of the reasons I take along and imperial pint glass. With three or four measures poured into it, I've even beer to perhaps even last all the way back to my seat. Though there were times I was on my second refill by the time I returned.
There was a bit less cask than last year. Which was worrying, because cask Bitter was how I'd tempted Dolores out into the countryside. Luckily she seemed to like the beers of Närke. The weaker ones, obviously. She's not in the same pisshead league as me.
We'd taken our own food again. No point throwing money down the drain. I have my expensive international lifestyle to finance.
I was so busy, I didn't even have time to take my camera out of its bag. Let alone take any notes. I never do seem to have time for that sort of stuff nowadays.
We didn't stay late. "Arrive early, grab a seat and piss off when it gets full." is my standard advice for beer festivals. We were back in time for Dr. Who.
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