The Great British Beer Festival, held in London in August, is organized by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). The 2009 festival is on its way to attracting 66,000 customers over a 4-and-a-half day period, matching its record attendance in 2006.
Hand-Pulled Cask Ale
The focus of the festival is British cask ale, "a top fermented beer that, following fermentation, is put into a cask with yeast and some residual fermentable sugars from the malted barley." The beer is hand pulled from a cask, unlike taps used for metal kegs.
And One for the Bunny
Like the annual Oktoberfest in Munich, dressing up for the occasion is as much a part of the fun for some as tasting the different beers.
Try to Sample Them All
More than 450 real ales, ciders and beers from around the world are featured at the festival.
Big & Small Brewers
Cardiff-based Brains Beer, the official sponsor of the Welsh national rugby team, had a popular display at the festival. Some bigger breweries splashed out on lavish displays, but small family-run breweries also proved popular with drinkers, some quickly running through the barrels they brought for the festival.
Souvenir Sales Struggle
Volunteer organizer and CAMRA member Bob Jones said that although the recession has affected the sales of the event's peripheries like T-shirts and glasses, there have been increased sales in core items like tickets and beer.
Showcase for the Country's Finest
The Great British Beer Festival prides itself on having local beers, as the pint continues to be the country's national drink. Brewers from all over United Kingdom united at Earl's Court Exhibition Center to showcase their finest ales, where consumers can sample beers from all regions.
Only tea could compete with beer when it comes to the UK's favorite beverage. Hogs Back Brewery has solved any dilemma by producing a beer called tea.
Giving Time for Beer
CAMRA now boast more than 100,000, up from 5,000 members at the end of 1973. The workers at the festival are CAMRA volunteers.
Not Ready Yet
Among the displays at the festival is the process of brewing. The pictured beer is in the process of fermentation, where yeast turns sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide is produced.
Not Just Beer
Alcoholic ciders and perrys (brewed from pears) were featured, providing a taste scale from very dry to very sweet. And with an alcohol content of 6% by volume, one pint can go a long way.
What's Beer Without Snacks?
The food section of the festival showcased traditional pub fare next to international offerings like Indian and Thai food. Drinkers could win a prize by guessing the weight of this substantial Cornish pasty (Britain's answer to the empanada.)
A Feast of Fiddles
Later in the day, live music is played at the festival. Although musicians must compete with the noise of an increasingly raucous crowd as the evening wears on.