Slideshows

The Great British Beer Festival

CNBC.com
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Photo by Sharon Lorimer

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.

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Photo by Sharon Lorimer

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.

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Photo by Sharon Lorimer

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.

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Photo by Sharon Lorimer

Try to Sample Them All

More than 450 real ales, ciders and beers from around the world are featured at the festival.

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Photo by Sharon Lorimer

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.

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Photo by Sharon Lorimer

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.

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Photo by Sharon Lorimer

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.

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Photo by Sharon Lorimer

Tea Time

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.

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Photo by Sharon Lorimer

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.

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Photo by Sharon Lorimer

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.

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Photo by Sharon Lorimer

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.

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Photo by Sharon Lorimer

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.)

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Photo by Sharon Lorimer

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.