The Great British Beer Festival Comes to Olympia

Over 800 cask ales to sample at Britain’s biggest celebration of suds

The chi-chi neighbourhood of Kensington may be better known for its flagship fashion stores and high net worth individuals, but every summer this little corner of West London comes out in celebration of one of the nation’s favourite pastimes – ale-quaffing. Swapping the champagne for suds for a long weekend in August, The Great British Beer Festival offers the chance to sample over 800 cask ales, bottled beers, foreign imports and more.

This year’s festival features more than just beer froth. As well as selections from major British brewers like Marston’s, Wells and Young and Greene King, you’ll find boutique ciders and perries flowing too. Breweries from all over the country are represented, from the Isle of Arran to the Isle of Wight, and bringing a truly international flavour to proceedings, you can sample the best beers from countries as far flung as Thailand and Sri Lanka.

If you’re a seasoned ale drinker, The Great British Beer Festival is the perfect opportunity to experiment and try new flavours. From hoppy headiness to fruity concoctions infused with blackberry and elderflower, you’ll find plenty of beers that will broaden your palette. With so many leading breweries and up and coming ales on show, the only problem is knowing where to start, but the festival’s thoughtfully put together website provides a handy guide to all of the breweries and beers on offer, allowing you to create your own must-try list ahead of time, making it easier to seek out the tipples that take your fancy once you get there.

Thanks to the rise of the gastropub, you’ll find plenty of tasty treats on offer around the festival to help soak up some of the alcohol. Alongside hearty pub staples of steak and ale pie and sausage and mash, there’ll be continental cuisine of every variety, ranging from full meals to bar snack nibbles. German bratwurst, Indian curries, will all be on offer to tickle those tastebuds.

And to help you dance off all that beer and pub grub, every day bands will take to the venue’s famous stage to entertain. Expect everything from jazz to the blues of the Deep South, with acts like the Spikedrivers and Mad Dog McRea making an appearance.

Britain’s biggest pub opens its doors on 7th August until last orders on the 11th August 2012. Located inside the grand 19th Century Olympia exhibition centre in West Kensington means you’re just a stones throw from some of the capital’s must-see destinations, should your taste for ale begin to wane.

The Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gardens, the V&A and Natural History Museum are all a short stroll away, not to mention the first-class shopping of Knightsbridge right on your doorstep too. You’ll find the West End well served by a host of leading hotel brands like the Holiday Inn Earl’s Court, making that boozy walk home after a pleasant afternoon’s sampling a breeze.

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