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Beer Exposed – what's that all about?

Anchor Porter
Anchor Porter

We’ve been invited to this Beer Exposed event in London at the end of September. I can’t quite work out what to make of it.

The good side – lots of brewers from around the world will be there. That said, the choice is a little weird — as well as excellent breweries from Britain (Fullers, Exmoor, Harvieston), Belgium (Liefmans, Westmalle*) and America (Great Divide, Goose Island, Anchor etc), there’s also a lot of dull “world lager” — eg Tsingtao, Quilmes, Cristal from Cuba and no less than four bland Polish breweries. Although, if Zywiec bring along some Porter, I’ll be first in the queue.

The mission of the event is to “explore, educate, enlighten”, and to this end there are various talks and walks run by various beer celebs. Star turn for beer geeks must be Garrett Oliver, doing various sessions on beer with food, including beer & cheese and beer & chocolate pairings. Many members of the British beer-writing gliterati are also there, and some of the sessions look very interesting indeed.

But… the whole thing smacks a bit of “beer is the new wine” to me. There’s quite a hefty entrance fee — £14 in advance, £17 on the door, which doesn’t include any of the beer walks or talks. Lots of the talks are focused on beer and food. There’s no-one over the age of 30 on the promotional material. There’s even a bloody dress code. Although if this is mostly to stop the sexist t-shirts, I don’t mind so much…

There’s also no mention of real ale, which is perhaps why I’ve not seen much mention of this in official CAMRA press or on their website. They do have a stand there, though, so hopefully real ale is not going to be entirely neglected in this sensory exploration. While I firmly believe that there are some great non-real beers in the world, real ale is an important and uniquely British part of the beer story.

So — an interesting radical approach to extending the appeal of beer, or a pretentious marketing exercise? Are tutored tastings and food pairings the way to enlightenment? If this kind of exercise helps people learn about wine, why not apply it to beer?

We’ll go along with an open mind and report back…


*are they bringing monks??

Beer Exposed is on at the Business Design Centre in Islington from 25th-27th September. You have to pick a four hour slot to attend. You can find a full schedule of events, plus details about the speakers, sessions and who’s exhibiting on the Beer Exposed website.

21 replies on “Beer Exposed – what's that all about?”

“real ale is an important and uniquely British part of the beer story.” in Britain. For the rest of us it’s either an interesting novelty or something we’ve never heard of. Some of us may even think it’s a bit snobby to go calling our pint unreal.

Personally, I think it’s extremely healthy when UK organisations which don’t have CAMRA’s limited focus take an interest in decent beer — even if they throw a few mingers in with it.

Beer Nut – interesting you should say that, I have a post coming up on that very theme…

I just wish it wasn’t so expensive. If the event is supposed to be targeted at people who don’t know much about beer (which seems to be the theme of a lot of the talks), then are they really likely to want to shell out £20+ on the off chance they might like it?

Stonch, if you weren’t getting in free, would you be going?

Its a 2 minute walk from my flat….but the only way I will get in for free would be if I can sneak in the back door (just off Liverpool road for those who wish to try). Nevertheless think I will pay up and go along – looks interesting (even if it does sound like a Sky 1 documentary) and I agree with the Beer Nut that it should be applauded, but as you say Boak it’s probably a little too pricey to attract those with only a hint of curiosity about good beer.

Beer nut, your pint’s unreal.

Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

I had an invite, too. Unlike some yuppie bloggers, I don’t live in central London. So not very practical.

Ron — you may not be a London-based yuppie, but surely you’re the last of the famous international playboys?

I think the inclussion of Quilmes, etc is an attempt to bring in something “exotic”, which in itself is not a bad idea, if only they had tried to get their hands on some more interesting stuff from those countries, specially in Argentina, there is a lot to choose from. Bringing in Quilmes as a repesentative from Argentina is like having Budweiser as a representative from the US.

As I sat on the tube the guy next to me was reading the Metro and picking his nose, and the page was open to something about this. It was obviously aiming at people who don’t really like beer, or are afraid of being lumped in with “beeks” or “beer geeks” in the language of the article.

I thought vaguely about going but I had no idea it was that expensive. Too rich for my blood!

I see – another London Establishment gig! Seriously I would like to go as I said, it seems forward looking and it might well be interesting.

Anyway I’m not likely to be in London then, so I’ll just have to read about it here.

I will be leading CAMRA’s effort at this event. We will have plenty of bottle conditioned beer to hand out. The period they have the hall for does not allow time for conditioning of real real-ale.

I am looking forward to the event as something new and different from our usual efforts.


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