If you catch us hopping from one foot to another in an agitated manner this afternoon, it's not just because we've drunk too much coffee. Oh no, it's mainly because we're struggling to contain our Homer Simpson-esque excitement at the prospect of the CAMRA Great British Beer Festival (aka GBBF), which kicks off at Earls Court later this afternoon and continues until early Saturday evening.
Billed as "Britain's biggest beer festival", the GBBF promises no less than 450 beers as well as a fair selection of ciders and perries (that's 'pear ciders' for the Generation Y-ers), all available in pint, half pint and third pint measures. We reckon this makes Earls Court the biggest pub in the world this week - a pub that focusses on great beer and wonderful beer-soaking foodstuffs (think pies, pasties, burgers, seafood, pork scratchings, nuts, crisps, olives, cheese, sausages and so on).
But it's not just about filling your belly. The festival features a variety of live musical performances (from string quartets to folk rock to brass bands), tutored tastings (all sold out, unfortunately), various merchandising stalls, a family room, 'beercasts', and some not-at-all patronising 'Girls' Guide to Beer' tours (register in advance on the website). Oh, and Thursday is 'Hat Day', apparently.
From past experience, we expect to witness a moderate number of beards and bellies, but they will probably be of the well-kempt variety (in fact, we suspect that a lot of money has been spent on the careful formation of some of those bellies). However it's likely to be a mixed, cheerful crowd, soaking up a huge variety of different offerings. If you're not averse to a fermented beverage or two, you could do a lot worse.
Great British Beer Festival, Earls Court, 4th-8th August. Open 5pm-10:30pm Tuesday, 12pm-10:30pm Wednesday-Friday, 11am-7pm Saturday. Tickets: £8 advance, £10 on the door - £2 discount for CAMRA members, £1 discount for group bookings (10+). More information and tickets available from the festival website.