Friday, 15 July 2011

Fantastic Foreign Legion at GBBF


It's just over two weeks to go to the Great British Beer Festival at Earl's Court and things seem to be hotting up. I'm particularly looking forward to tasting some lovely beer from the four corners of the globe. So, my ears pricked up when I heard via this guy's blog that the beer list for the festival's foreign bar, Bieres Sans Frontieres, had just been released.

I've spent the past few hours having an absorbing perusal of the list and it looks a very exciting selection of bottles and cask beers from countries such as Italy, Japan, The States, Belgium, Holland and New Zealand. The bottle list is good but the cask list of beers is really rather mouth wateringly magnificent.

The foreign bar is split into four geographical sections -

Vesalias - Belgian and Dutch
Bilroth - German and Czech
Urbani - New World Bar
Blackwell - USA Cask Ale Bar

I'm not sure of the significance of the names given to each bar, perhaps someone can enlighten me further?

I'm not much of a beer ticker but in a unguarded moment of  self indulgence, I've made a little list of  ten of the international beers that I intend to seek, hunt down and enjoy the moment the door opens on Tuesday 2nd August.

Here it is. The tasting notes are not my own and are instead taken from the Camra GBBF website.

Epic (New Zealand)
Mayhem (6.2% ABV)
This beer's fresh earthy aromas and rich flavours taste like they have more in common with darker beers than this golden coloured brew. It's big on green fresh hoppy flavours with an interesting bitter twist at the very finish stretching out the taste to a lingering conclusion.

Hitachino Nest (Japan)

Nipponia (6.5% ABV)
Brewed using two Japanese original materials; Kaneko Golden, the Japanese ancient barley, and Sorachi Ace, the hop which once was bred in Japan. Enjoy the citrus flavour, golden colour and the complex taste.

Murray's Craft Brewing (Australia)
Nirvana Pale Ale (4.5% ABV)
Nirvana Pale Ale is a hybrid of an American Pale Ale combined with the classic English Pale Ale style to produce a New World Pale Ale. A brilliant golden colour, it has a fresh citrusy/spicy aroma and flavour, balanced with biscuity/toffee flavours from the malt and finishes full-bodied with a complex character and bitterness.

Bernard (Czech Republic)
Kvasnicový (5% ABV)
Unfiltered and unpasteurised this beer has been lagered for 12 weeks. Almost like a really tasty hefeweizen in a pilsener sense.

Keesmann (Germany)
Herren Pils (4.6% ABV)
Pale golden with creamy head. Dryish with superbly rounded, chewy maltiness. Mild with lightly grassy finish with just a hint of bitterness.

Klašterni Pivovar Strahov (Czech Republic)

16° IPA (6.3% ABV)
Top-fermented beer brewed from Czech ingredients and two kinds of American hops ( Amarillo and Cascade). It combines full malt body with high hop bitterness and hoppy aroma.

Tegernsee (Germany)

Spezial (5.7% ABV)
Very pale, with light delicate malt flavours and a dry finish.

Oskar Blues (USA)

Dale's Pale Ale (6.5% ABV)
A huge hopped mutha with a hoppy nose and assertive-but-balanced flavours of pale malts and hops from start to finish. This special batch has a little twist however - Dry-hopped with Centennial.

Ska (USA)

Modus Hoperandi (American IPA) (6.8% ABV)
A mix of citrus and pine that will remind you of that time you went on a vision quest with your Native American cousin and woke up in a pine grove of grapefruit trees.

De Molen (Netherlands)

Tsarina Esra Reserva (11% ABV)
Dark brown in colour with an aroma of caramel, chocolate, dried fruit and liquorice. The taste is more dark chocolate with a light peat smokiness, tobacco and a warming sweetness. This version has undergone extra maturation in a huge wooden barrel from which it will be directly served.

Some of these beers I've had before and look forward to revisiting them like an old friend. The others are hopefully friends I haven't yet met.

What beer friends, old and new, are you hoping to meet up with at this year's Great British Beer Festival?



  1. The bar names are on a Famous Medical People theme.

  2. Please ignore the spelling mistake on the list - it is not Devil's Backbone, it is Devils Backbone.

    Please fail to ignore the beer though! Barclay's London Dark Lager!

  3. I heard that some of the draught Czech beers will be in key kegs. The only other place they'll be (allegedly) at Earl's Court this year is in the Volunteer Arms staff bar as a 'trial' for the Kevins' Technical Advisory group