A.J. Walker


Eek! It's August Already

It is August. It is AUGUST! What the absolute…

The year is speeding up horrendously. And to that end I've found I haven't done an ale blog for a couple of months. To be fair it's been a funny month or two, not helped by finally succumbing to the dreaded lurgy. I've been very lucky not to have contracted it before I guess. And I know several people who've had it several times. Even though I have now had joined that crappest of clubs I can still consider myself lucky in so much as whilst I tested positive for it for a week I never really fell ill. I only had a very slight fever and a runny nose (and even that only lasted one night). I thankfully did not lose my taste. What an horrendous symptom that is for those impacted by it. I mean imagine that a pint of Carling would taste as good as a Jaipur or a decent stout. What cruel punishment.

Having a couple of weekends not going out due to the lurgy I then fell off my bike and hit my head badly. So much blood was spilt I think I may still be half empty. So that was another weekend not out. This may partly explain my tardiness with the blog. Hell I need an excuse or two don't I?

There's not too much to report anyway. The usual suspects have remained as my regular haunts in Liverpool and I haven't had any away days outside of Merseyside recently: apart from the Great British Beer Festival (GBBF). I went there last week with the happy band from Neptune. I'd only been once before (around ten years ago) when it was at Earls Court. This time it was at Olympia.

Team meeting at Lime Street Station before the trek darn sarf.

It was a fun trip down (oh my, too many things to go into there) but we all got down in one piece and arrived at Olympia just as they opened the doors. It was a lovely afternoon trying a few beers from the range of bars there. It was a long but very enjoyable day – from Liverpool to London and back again in a day. Had some loverly beers from around the country (and Europe too). Note: I was surprised at how much keg there was (not pleasantly, or horrified, just surprised), CAMRA grasping the keg nettle?

Olympia: it's big here, innit?

I was equally surprised that the program had a list of all the bars and all the beers, but simply had the names of the beer and the ABVs. That was it, It would have been useful - nay, essential - to see (if not a detailed description) at least a style next to the name. There was no way from looking at the programme to tell whether a beer was a pale, a stout or a sour (or whatever) unless the name of the beer had the style of beer within its actual name ('X Brewery Pale' etc), Crazy really. I mean if you wanted to try a few wheat beers or golden ales you'd have no chance of finding them using the programme. Similarly the bar names were a little confusing; the Caernarvon Castle Bar wasn't for Welsh beers and the Caledonian Bar wasn't for Scottish ones. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason about where the beers were. At the end of the day you could easily miss a beer style you'd be interested in thanks to the strange idea of not telling anyone where the stuff was. That said there were of course shed loads of beers there and you weren't going to go thirsty.


There were as many food vendors there as bars too. If you fancied eating yourself around the world instead of drinking it, you'd have loads of options. The place was enormous and a couple of walks around it you'd have your ten thousand steps in and have earned the right to a a kebab and a pint. Probably.

So many food vendors. I've been calling these something else for years! Who knew!?

I saw on Instagram and Twitter so many people I know well (or just a little) that were there, but I seemed to do a good job of avoiding most of them (or they did of me). To be fair Olympia is a couple of aircraft hangars short of an airfield so it's dead easy to miss people (or hide from them). All in all it was a most enjoyable trip down to the smoke and I'd happily do it again; just preferably with a more useful programme – and hopefully managing to meet up with more people before seeing on Insta that I'd just missed them. Think all the team had a really good time. And why not? Not so incidentally Neptune were requested to showcase a lager on cask. So we were down there with not the famous Mosaic or a Abyss, but 'Evenflow' on cask: Who'd have thunk it? It was my first half there – and my last (and only) pint,

Neptune 'Evenflow' - a cask lager from up north, who'd have thunk it?

Promise my next blog won't wait two months. In fact I'm going to Manchester on Friday - so maybe it'll be within the week. We'll see.