After reading Brewdog James' Blog about his unfortunate cancellation from GBBF, it reminded me of my visit to GBBF last year.
At Hardknott we have been brewing since 2005 but as yet have not to my knowledge been put forward for any consideration for sending beer to GBBF. I have been asked by a number of people if and when Hardknott beer will be at GBBF, the answer is I don't know.
I was recently informed by a local CAMRA member that there was one man in Cumbria responsible for deciding which Cumbrian beers will go to GBBF. I tweeted about this and received numerous replies indicating that this could not be true. I have no evidence to support this either way.
At GBBF last year, shortly after arriving, I visited the Cumbrian stand to check out the beer selection. I scanned the breweries exhibiting and was greatly disappointed. There were no beers represented from some of the best Cumbrian breweries. This surely gave a poor impression of what Cumbria had to offer.
I wandered away disappointed. I headed for the BSF bar where many fellow twitterartti had gathered. I consulted the program for inspiration and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a beer was listed from a very small microbrewery. This particular brewery is set in a very small pub in a very small village in a remote area of Oregon on the most westerly coast of the USA.
What made the beer stand out to me was because we know the brewer so well. In fact Ted of the Brewers Union 180 stayed with us at The Woolpack Inn on numerous occasions. Not only did he visit us and help to brew but also bought a selection of handpulls and British pint glasses, in fact he filled a pallet of goodies to transport back to Oregon where he intended to buy a pub and set up a micro brewery.
We have since visited Ted and his pub and brewery where Hardknott Dave joined in with some brewing and made some Cumberland sausage for a Boxing Day speciality. We used to say Brewers Union 180 was like a sister pub to The Woolpack Inn and was the next best beer to find at GBBF after Hardknott.
But please can someone tell me how a firkin of beer from a small brewpub 5014 miles away from London be served at the Great BRITISH BEER Festival, when beer from Hardknott Brewery only 227 miles away, and which can be frequently found in London, but cannot be found at the GBBF?
I believe Ted's beer will be at GBBF again this year and better than that Ted will be visiting Hardknott brewery this year too to brew with Hardknott Dave. Maybe we could send some Hardknott beer to Ted in Oregon 5014 miles away and he could send send it back to GBBF for us under a pseudonym.