Sunday, 20 December 2009

Pig’s Ear Real Ale Festival

Intoxicating experiences are ten a penny round here but when we visited the Pig’s Ear Real Ale Festival in Hackney, drinking reached another level. The do was a five day celebration of all things ale related and hosted by beer bores or saviours depending on how much you like yarns and or morris dancers - CAMRA.

The vibe was full on sausage fest - on entering we were faced with a room full of portly men in short shorts. I’ve never been in a room full of so many people which felt so lonely. This is where the single man goes to die. A twisted future vibe I don’t think I want to contemplate too much.

The crucial aspect of the festival was the beer - never have I tasted such a variety of potions and brews. We kicked off proceedings with a half of the Dark Domination. Palatable and none too heavy. Then a dose of Arthur’s Ale from the Avalon Brewery - a Tolkien-esque number which tasted like Tolkien himself might do at this stage - stiltony and a bit off. Our third had the flavour of chronic while another resembled frankfurters which one member of our party spilled down himself.

After a few halves, we took down a delicious cheese sandwich and began hobnobbing with the men in charge of what could have quite reasonably been one of the largest pasties in the entirety of the UK.

The vibe rapidly fell apart once we started hitting the plus ten per cent ales - including a Night on Mare Street - a self reverential local Hackney drank. Skittles and one Oliver Reed t-shirt purchase later we found ourselves in Wetherspoons. It ended in the flat shouting at each other sometime before 2 in the am. The next morning was one of the worst I’ve enjoyed for the entirety of 2009. Which is saying something. Serious.

The tee-shirt stall. The CAMRA crew sure can laugh at themselves

A cheese sandwich

The biggest pasty in the world?

Encore for the pasty - It's beautiful enough to marry

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