People have funny ideas about beery get togethers in this country. Sure, Oktoberfest in Munich has an aura of frothy fun and kitsch camaraderie that doesn’t require an obsessive interest in beer but here an entirely different image has lodged itself in the general public’s perception. Mention beer festivals to the man on the Clapham omnibus and images of men with Darwinesque facial hair quaffing jugs of murky fluid present themselves.
This is somewhat unfair as for many years Birmingham has held an increasingly successful beer festival organised by CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) which many, including me, have found to be great fun. But, in my not so humble opinion, there was room for a different approach which would complement rather than replace this event. Apparently I wasn’t the only person to think this but 10 guys and gals who met largely on social media shockingly decided to do something rather than just moan.
Hence the Birmingham Beer Bash. What’s so different about this you ask? Well the world of beer has changed beyond all recognition recently with new processes and talented enthusiasts producing beers that can’t be recognised by CAMRA because they are “keg” rather than “cask” but are light years from the flavourless beers that CAMRA have fought so long against. The Birmingham Beer Bash on 26th/27th July in Digbeth was designed to introduce people to interesting keg and bottled beers (sometimes known as craft beers) as well as interesting real ales that do not often make their way to Birmingham.
A range of food is also available from funky street food to fine dining. If you are interested in the techniques used to create the beers that are tickling your taste buds there are a number of talks and tasting sessions. If you just want to try new beers you can (possibly for the first time on this scale locally) enjoy a beer with a friend without worrying whether they like cask, keg, bottled, bitter, lager etc. Just enjoy yourself.
I haven’t listed individual attractions here because they are in the program. Just know that bars, pubs and people in Brum are fully participating in the spirit of the event with some putting on their own events to add to the fun. From "A Moveable Feast" to "Zombie Walk" there seems little doubt that Birmingham is the place to be this weekend.
Why am I writing this? I am not an organiser of the Beer Bash. I am one of those guys who loves to drink traditional real ale in traditional pubs. Why did I volunteer to help the Beer Bash?
I did so because I like both cask ale and keg beer. I did so because I like interesting food. I did so because I think this will give Birmingham a boost. I did so because I think it will encourage even more people to the Birmingham Beer Festival later in the year.
I did it because it’s going to be fun.
Birmingham Beer Bash runs from Friday 26th to Saturday 27th July 2013. Click here for more info.