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Great British Beer Festival 2008 (CAMRA Beer Festival)

Beer (sort)Average Score (sort)No. Samples (sort)
Stone - Barrel Aged Smoked PorterExceptional1
Dogfish Head - 90 Minute Imperial IPAExceptional1
Opa-Opa Steakhouse & Brewery - PorterExcellent1
Lost Abbey - The Angel's Share (Bourbon barrel)Excellent1
Whim - Flower PowerExcellent1
Eastwood & Sanders - 1872 PorterExcellent1
Rogue - Glen AleExcellent1
Porter House - Plain PorterExcellent1
De Molen - Tsarina Esra ReservaExcellent1
Mayflower - Mayflower PorterExcellent1
Bartrams - Comrade Bill Bartram's Egalitarian Anti Imperialist Soviet StoutExcellent1
Grainstore - Rutland PantherExcellent1
Opa-Opa Steakhouse & Brewery - Dry StoutGood1
Buffy's - MildGood1
Consett Ale Works - White HotGood1
Felstar - Crix ForestGood1
Moor - Ported Peat PorterGood1
Ascot - 5/4 Favourite (formerly Alligator Ale)Good1
Hebridean - Berserker Export PaleGood1
Stone - 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal StoutGood1
Ulverston - Bad MedicineGood1
Ashover - Coffin Lane StoutGood1
Chelsea Brewing Company - Henry Hudson IPAGood1
Captain Cook - Black PorterGood1
Stewart - Pentland IPAGood1
Church End - Grave Digger's AleGood1
Redhook - Long Hammer IPAGood1
Hobsons - Best BitterGood1
Grain - Tamarind IPAGood1
Sly Fox - Route 113 IPAGood1
Dogfish Head - Palo Santo MarronGood1
Woodlands - Midnight Sun StoutGood1
Organic Brewhouse - Black Rock StoutGood1
Great Gable - Burnmoor Pale AleAcceptable1
Gritty McDuffs - Punch You in the IPAAcceptable1
Portsmouth Brewery (New Hampshire) - Oatmeal StoutAcceptable1
Townes - Speedwell BitterAcceptable1
Iceni - Celtic QueenAcceptable1
Thwaites - MildAcceptable1
Devon - Thick BlackAcceptable1
Brooklyn - BlastAcceptable1
Hobsons - Manor AleAcceptable1
Humpty Dumpty - Little SharpieAcceptable1
Vale - GravitasAcceptable1
McNeill's - Dead Horse IPAAcceptable1
North Cotswold - Hung, Drawn 'N' PorteredAcceptable1
Shalford - Stoneley BitterAcceptable1
Marston's - Night WatchmanAcceptable1
Acorn - Summer PaleAcceptable1
Opa-Opa Steakhouse & Brewery - Red Rock AleAcceptable1
Smuttynose Brewing Company - Pumpkin AleAcceptable1
Mauldons - Silver AdderAcceptable1
Crouch Vale - Summer BreezeAcceptable1
Nottingham - 150 Not OutAcceptable1
Gritty McDuffs - Best BitterAcceptable1
Cape Ann - Fisherman's IPAAcceptable1
Brimstage - Trapper's HatAcceptable1
Frome (formerly Milk Street) - RA (was 4.3%)Acceptable1
Martha's Exchange - Collabor-aleAcceptable1
Islay Ales - Finlaggan AleAcceptable1
Martha's Exchange - Der Schnitt ObenAcceptable1
Glentworth - LightyearAcceptable1
Spectrum - Bezants BitterAcceptable1
Timothy Taylor - Dark MildAcceptable1
Tipple's - The Hanged MonkAcceptable1
Tirril - Old FaithfulAcceptable1
Cricket Hill - Colonel Blide's AltbierAcceptable1
Captain Lawrence - Brown BirdAcceptable1
Otley - O-GardenPoor1
Iceni - Raspberry WheatPoor1
Wem (formerly Hanby) - Cherry BombPoor1
Dunham Massey - Chocolate Cherry MildPoor1
Philadelphia - Newbold IPAPoor1
Climax - Extra Special BitterPoor1
Bartrams - MarldUndrinkable1
Picture 1. Great British Beer Festival 2008, Earl's Court, Central London

Visits Details

08 Aug 2008 (Ian)
The Friday, and my last day at the festival. Odd to start with as there was a big table of people behind me playing drinking games. They all disappeared by 4pm, and so had the physical table. Then it became more relaxed. Once I had drunk my 100th beer (perry, cider, German/Czech keg lager as well as cask) of the festival, I just sat back and relaxed and tried some old favourites.
BeerABVScoreNotes
Stone - Barrel Aged Smoked Porter5.90ExceptionalVanilla and smoke on the aroma. Some really odd fruit in mouth, like blackberry and minty blackcurrant. Tastes like the barrels had been used for cabernet sauvignon or merlot. Vanilla is there, but the rest is lovely. Light, drinkable and juicy. Itís fantastic like red wine and porter. Quite a powdery dry finish. Superb.
Eastwood & Sanders - 1872 Porter6.50ExcellentStill one of the best in Britain. Great intensity of choc and great mouthfeel. Great aroma. Some sourness on end.
Opa-Opa Steakhouse & Brewery - Porter5.00ExcellentDeep ruby, thin beige head. Very very choccy, quite an intense porter. Just very very good and deserves better of my beer judgement than I am today. Itís excellent. Good fullness, reall intense choc, but very drinkable at the same time. Good stinging bitterness from the choc on end.
Rogue - Glen Ale8.10ExcellentHazy amber, no head. Rogue PNW grapefruit distinctive aroma. Itís a strong Rogue beer. But I love the hop, the malts, the strength. The insane hop is great. Grapefruit flavour is awesome. Not subtle but so enjoyable, it brought a big smile to my face. After another half of it, it did get a bit sweet.
Captain Cook - Black Porter4.40GoodVery dark brown, thin beige head. Pretty nice choc porter. Decent flavour in mouth, good drinkability, tasty, good fullness, makes me feel good. Bit of harsh roast which stings the tongue. Good.
Church End - Grave Digger's Ale3.80GoodRoasted malt aroma. some dark fruits, bit of damson. OK mild, needs a bit of condition. Good roasted malts though. Quite intense for a mild.
Organic Brewhouse - Black Rock Stout4.70GoodBlack with dark brown edges and a thin beige head. Looked in good nick. Choc and a bit tarry. Bit powdery in mouth. Pretty tasty, some dry malt, hey, a good, English stout. Good, tasty. Easy drinking.
Consett Ale Works - White Hot4.00GoodClear pale gold, thin off whtie. Yes very grassy hop aroma. On itís day probably very refreshing. Citrusy, light, bit of sherbert. Better than average golden ale.
Ascot - 5/4 Favourite (formerly Alligator Ale)4.60GoodGold, thin off white ehad. American hops, but not over the top, some good pink grapefruit. Some earthy leafyness. Tasty.
Ashover - Coffin Lane Stout5.00GoodBlack, thin tan head. Roasty aroma, coffee and choc. Fine, good dark roasted flavours, very dark and roasted in fact. Fine, bit of ashtray, but a decent reasonably intense stout.
Thwaites - Mild3.30AcceptableVery dark ruby. Some butter, tad of diacetyl maybe. Some bitterness on finish. Decent fullness for a 3.3% beer. Some vanilla, some blackcurrant. Really quite impressive.
Islay Ales - Finlaggan Ale3.70AcceptableThatís an alright bitter. Decent hop, ok malts. OK bitter.
Spectrum - Bezants Bitter4.00AcceptableGold, thin white head. Empty pale malts, bit of hay, not hugely exciting, bit of rubber, bit of drying hop on finish. Decent condition, bit of peach fuzz, but overall not interesting.
Great Gable - Burnmoor Pale Ale4.20AcceptableGold colour with a yeasty aroma. Yeasty, golden bitter. Fine. Just not very interesting. Some bitterness on finish.
Humpty Dumpty - Little Sharpie3.80AcceptableClear gold, looks like a lager and a thin white head. Some citrusy aroma. Looks good, but in the mouth it is very very dull.
Acorn - Summer Pale4.10AcceptableGold, thin off white head. I mean, itís actually a pretty good golden ale, but itís still a golden ale. Fruit salad aroma, nice mouthfeel, some drying hop, more juicy fruit on the swallow. But hey, as I said, like a thousand other golden/blond ales.
Glentworth - Lightyear3.90AcceptableGold, sherberty. Some earthy hop. Dullish golden ale. I mean itís alright, but nothing to distinguish it from 100 others.
McNeill's - Dead Horse IPA5.70AcceptableHazy copper, thin bubbly beige head. Bit too earthy, probably on too early. Only a bit of carbonation. Decent hop, but just too muddy.
Mauldons - Silver Adder4.20AcceptableGold, bit of a haze. thin off white head. Bit rubbery, may be not 100% ready, but the real beer is there somewhere. Shame as I like this brewery. Not quite settled. Rubber isnít great up front. Shame. Will have it again.
Tipple's - The Hanged Monk3.80AcceptableRoasted choc aroma which is quite attractive, lacks a fullness in mouth. Good condition. Choc/coffee mild. Yep, ok, bit acidic on finish.
08 Aug 2008 (Blair)
I arrived at around 4 and stayed until closing (not that I remember leaving). There was a fantastic atmosphere in here, I just love hearing thousands of people cheer everytime a glass shatters. Few too many yuppie types, but not much can be done about that. I had a great time.
BeerABVScoreNotes
Porter House - Plain Porter4.30ExcellentLovely full flavoured porter. Lot's of roasted malt and barley. Exactly as described, a plain porter.
Grainstore - Rutland Panther3.40ExcellentRed-black mild, fit a hell of a lot of flavour into a 3.4% beer. Incredible.
Bartrams - Comrade Bill Bartram's Egalitarian Anti Imperialist Soviet Stout6.90ExcellentThick black russian stout. Really easy drinking with nice roasted malt and coffee flavours. Gorgeous.
Hebridean - Berserker Export Pale7.50GoodHad an almost cider like quality to it, nice beer.
Stewart - Pentland IPA4.10GoodVery refreshing, very hoppy IPA. I needed this after all the thick heavy porters and stouts I'd had.
Grain - Tamarind IPA5.50GoodNice grassy IPA. Fruity flavours and a touch of malt. Good one.
Opa-Opa Steakhouse & Brewery - Dry Stout5.60GoodNice rich dark sout, chocolate and coffee dominate. Nice roasted maltiness as well.
Moor - Ported Peat Porter4.70GoodDark brown/black beer, nice blackcurrant fruit flavous along with the roast malt. A nicelydifferent porter.
Ulverston - Bad Medicine6.30GoodDark brown winter beer. Lots of coffee and liquorice with some grass and hops. Nice beer.
Devon - Thick Black4.10AcceptableAs the name suggests this is a thick black stout. Very little to mention though, not much flavour just a little but of roasted malt. Very creamy. Not great.
07 Aug 2008 (Ian)
I think that this was my favourite day. We moved where we were sat and this was a much quieter table. It was also pretty easy to move around the festival and get served quickly. Still with a whole load of ratebeer.com people plus I tried some perries as the cider and perry stand was right opposite where we were sat.
BeerABVScoreNotes
Dogfish Head - 90 Minute Imperial IPA9.00ExceptionalI had this twice, which I'm glad about as it only came on that day and ran out in less than 6 hours. My favourite double IPA from America. Just so drinkable even for a 9% ABV beer. The hops are gorgeous and the malt and alcohol balance the beer. Great stuff.
Woodlands - Midnight Sun Stout4.40GoodBlack thin tan head. Itís a tarry stout. Not bad, pretty well made. Itís fine, a pretty drinkable, slightly smokey stout.
Hobsons - Best Bitter3.80GoodClear copper, thin off white head. Frankly, a pretty tasteless bitter is what I first thought. Some subtle yeast malt and hop. Nothing wrong with it. The hop on the finish does get better. I can see people drinking pints of this in their local and loving it. Easy drinking with enough hop to keep you interested.
Sly Fox - Route 113 IPA7.20GoodAmber, thin beige head. Slightly bitter peppery hop aroma which is very nice. Better than.... I have no idea as my notes stop at that bit and then start again with....lacks a big finish. Not really a 7.2% ABV. No real heat. Just dies a little, but drinkable enough.
Iceni - Celtic Queen4.00AcceptableGold, lasting white head. Some yeast/hop on aroma. Bit yeasty maybe. Little bit dull. Building hop sting on the finish. Itís a golden ale.
Timothy Taylor - Dark Mild3.50AcceptableVery dark black with ruby hints. Thin dark beige head. OK, firstly itís too cold. But it is a mild. Itís fine. Drinkable, not overly roasted. As a knock down drink with some flavour itís perfect.
Townes - Speedwell Bitter3.90AcceptableGold, hazy thin white head. Slight hoppy, good golden bitter. OK hops, bit of cheese somewhere. Fine.
Vale - Gravitas4.80AcceptableGold, thin white head. Itís a fine golden ale, some toffee, some hop, some fullness because of the alcohol. But ultimately a little empty. Some lemon flavour towards the end.
Smuttynose Brewing Company - Pumpkin Ale5.10AcceptableClear copper, lasting beige head. Definitely a spicy aroma. Lots of dried spice, nutmeg. I guess itís a style you like or donít. This is ok. I mean itís interesting and the spice never runs away with it.
Frome (formerly Milk Street) - RA (was 4.3%)4.10AcceptableGold, lasting off white bubbly head. An English golden ale. Some citrus on finish. Some pleasing English yeast on aroma. Itís alright, if not majoryly exciting.
Captain Lawrence - Brown Bird5.00AcceptableAttractive clear chestnut colour with a thin beige head. Itís a bit like a strong brown ale. A bit syrupy maybe, and just a bit uncultured.
Hobsons - Manor Ale4.20AcceptableGold, thin beige head. Looked in good nick when poured. Digestive biscuits on aroma. Biscuits in mouth too. Pleasant if you like a biscuity bran-y bitter.
Marston's - Night Watchman3.80AcceptableGold, lasting creamy head. Bit of Burton snatch on the aroma. Some biscuit, faint hop on end. Letís say that Hoggy is a better night watchman than this is a bitter.
Gritty McDuffs - Best Bitter4.80AcceptableClear copper, lasting beige head. Not a huge aroma. Well, yes, if you wanted to make an English best bitter, this is pretty close. Some grapefruit, but itís got good biscuit. Enormously authentic. I would expect more malt from a UK beer, but as a US interpretation, itís pretty good. They didnít throw a whole load of hops at it like some brewers might have done.
Martha's Exchange - Der Schnitt Oben5.80AcceptableHazy pale chestnut colour, thin beige head. Bit of puke on the aroma. A german alt/dunkel Iím guessing? Itís ok, settles down a bit, got a bit of grapefruit hop. Itís ok... it is just not interesting, well it is interesting as itís a US brewery doing a German style. Bit safe maybe.
Iceni - Raspberry Wheat5.00PoorGold, disappearing off white head. Some raspberry. Itís an odd beer. I kept forgetting that it was on the table in front of me, so I couldnít have liked it that much as it took me so long to drink.
Philadelphia - Newbold IPA6.50PoorIt is hazy amber. A little earthy on the hops. Not ready yet. Too muddy, earthy. It came on quite late on the Thursday as some US stuff was running out and I think they put it on strictly before it was ready. Not really sure that it is supposed to be this muddy/earthy.
Bartrams - Marld3.40UndrinkableCloudy dark brown. Aroma of big butter diacetyl. Things donít improve in the mouth either.
06 Aug 2008 (Ian)
Still sat in front of the American stand, still enjoying the variety of beers. Bit more of a settled day when I started exploring more of the festival.
BeerABVScoreNotes
Whim - Flower Power5.30ExcellentA really hoppy strong gold ale. Soft in mouth. Great peppery English EKG style hops. Wow. The hops, the mouth feel, the lemon curd fruit. Great stunning bitterness.
Buffy's - Mild4.20GoodVery dark brown, lasting beige head. For a 4.2% beer it hasnít got a lot of body, some mild plum fruit flavour. It is very very mild, which I like in a mild. Brewed very much to the style, some would say empty in the body, but itís supposed to be. Good strawberry jam on finish. Some vegetal flavour. The strawberry is nice tough. A good dark fruity mild.
Chelsea Brewing Company - Henry Hudson IPA6.60GoodHazy copper, thin beige head. Lovely grapefruit hop aroma. Good, tasty, nettley in mouth. Really very nettley, tasty though. Thatís a pretty good above average IPA. Nice nettle hop.
Dogfish Head - Palo Santo Marron12.00GoodBlack, no head. Intense alcohol aroma. Herby, hot alcohol. Itís very brandyish. Yes, some vanilla. It does remind me of cognac. Not unpleasant. Warming, good for a winterís night nip, but for 12.30 lunchtime? Just a bit too much.
Felstar - Crix Forest4.00GoodWinner of the weirdest beer of the day. Cloudy dark brown with thin beige head. Bit of banana. Whatís it supposed to be? A dunkel weisse? A bit of raspberry. Definite banana. Itís a dunkel weisse. Crazy, but really interesting.
North Cotswold - Hung, Drawn 'N' Portered5.00Acceptable Black, thin beige head. Powdery choc aroma, powdery in mouth. Itís ok, a little bit of hop on end. Little bit thin maybe. Some dark fruit. Just not there in terms of quaffability.
Crouch Vale - Summer Breeze4.20AcceptableGold, lasting white head. Now thatís comforting, to have an English ale yeast again. Good nick, lovely hop. Bit of acidity. Aye, a decent golden ale but not as hoppy as the Brewerís Gold.
Tirril - Old Faithful4.00AcceptableCopper, lasting thin off white head. Slightly yeasty. Some fruit salad, but not a great bitter. Some minimal hop sting on finish.
Martha's Exchange - Collabor-ale5.10AcceptableHazy copper, thin beige head. Lovely grapefruit hop aroma. Good, tasty, nettley in mouth. Really very nettley, tasty though. Thatís a pretty good above average IPA. Nice nettle hop.
Portsmouth Brewery (New Hampshire) - Oatmeal Stout5.50AcceptableBlack, thin tan head. Hoppy liquorice aroma. Peppery hop, tarry, liquorice mlats. Itís a wee bit odd. Hops are too dominant and the liquorice isnít my favourite flavour. Hops have a bit of cat pee to them.
Opa-Opa Steakhouse & Brewery - Red Rock Ale6.80AcceptableRusset colour with thin beige head. Nice grapefruit aroma. Not too much intensity in the mouth for a 6.8% beer. OK, a bit like a bitter really. Bit watery in mouth.
Brimstage - Trapper's Hat3.80AcceptableHey, itís from the Wirral so I had to have it. Gold, lasting off white head. Nettle hop. Decent condition. Bit of sweaty sox. Nice enough beer. Certainly godl personality. Doesnít develop much, but hte sherberty sweaty sox is ok.
Cricket Hill - Colonel Blide's Altbier5.50AcceptableHazy amber. No head. Is it an alt? No not really. Too much American hop. Little bit of sourness.
Shalford - Stoneley Bitter4.20AcceptableChestnut, thin lasting beige head. Itís a slightly fruity slightly sharp best bitter. Some toffee, bit of seawater on the end. Itís ok, not great, but its a decent yeasty best bitter.
Nottingham - 150 Not Out3.70AcceptableClear gold. Itís what I expect from this very good English brewer. A great session bitter, good hops on finish, bit of butter on aroma, maybe diacetyl, but the hoppy dry swallow is excellent.
Wem (formerly Hanby) - Cherry Bomb6.00PoorHazy copper, disappearing beige head. Cherry, marzipan aroma. Cherry throat lozenge aroma. Itís got some artificial sweet cough syrup cherry. Really quite poor.
Dunham Massey - Chocolate Cherry Mild3.80PoorI mean, you just have to donít you? When you are presented with a beer title like that, you have to see what itís like. Dark brown/dark ruby. Thin beige head. Lots of cherry, but chalky cherry. Cough syrup type aroma. Pretty awful, just stewed cherry with a bit of malt. Awful.
Otley - O-Garden4.80PoorHazy gold, thin white head. Nice hoppy/spicy beer. Lots of tea, not really a replica of Hoegaarden. Lemon/lime/herb. Pretty bad.
05 Aug 2008 (Ian)
OK, so day 1 of my 4 day stint here all with various people from Ratebeer.com. Travelled up with Chris Excell from Ashford and blonked myself in front of the USA part of the Biere Sans Frontieres stand. Superb beer line up, bought a lot of bottles both American and German. Lots of some very special beers to try.
BeerABVScoreNotes
Mayflower - Mayflower Porter5.30ExcellentVery dark brown, very little tan head. Lovely tarry, chocolatey aroma. Good in mouth, nice choc. Pretty decent. Very full, good choc lasting finish. Thatís a pretty good porter. Oily and tasty.
Lost Abbey - The Angel's Share (Bourbon barrel)12.50ExcellentVery very deep ruby with lasting beige head. Really very bourbon and vanilla aroma. Wow thatís just too much on the vanilla. Great flavour in the mouth. The original beer struggles through all that vanilla. Great toffee flavour. Itís very very intense. Big and huge. Hot alcohol. Pretty good once it settles down.
De Molen - Tsarina Esra Reserva11.00ExcellentVanilla hits you first. Its an oily impy stout in the mouth. Itís a very intense beer, makes the hall go quiet and focusses you in onto this beer. Alcohol isnít obvious in the mouth, but blows your legs away. This really is stunning. Strong, overwhelming and great. Drinkability? Perhaps not all the time, but as a finishing beer? Oh boy, one of the best.
Redhook - Long Hammer IPA6.50GoodHazy gold, no head. Lovely hoppy aroma, some fruit salad in mouth. Nice to have some US hops at last. Itís somewhat peppery. Good tasty hops. Touch of syrup to the malts and a little too empty on the toffee malts, but fine.
Stone - 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout9.50GoodBlack, thin tan head. Lots of bitter choc, some nutmeg. Still some American hops on end. Itís quite strong on the alcohol, bit of vanilla, bit too unsubtle. Hot alcohol and some whiskyish nature to it.
Gritty McDuffs - Punch You in the IPA6.70AcceptableCopper colour, thin beige head. Just a little too much butter for me. Some aggressive bitter hop on end. Just a bit too bitter and not floral hoppy enough for me. A little plain.
Cape Ann - Fisherman's IPA5.50AcceptableReddish brown with lasting beige head. Fruity IPA, with a hoppy aroma. Maybe a bit thin in the mouth, lacks oomph, body and depth. OK leafy hop. Quite watery actually. Some peachy apricot fruit.
Brooklyn - Blast8.20AcceptableClear copper with thin white head. Aggressive hop aroma. OK in mouth, some alcohol sweetness, lots of bitter hop on end. Hops are hot and good, but not sure the rest holds it up. Some good lime. Itís ok, if a bit harsh.
Climax - Extra Special Bitter5.50PoorItís got that washing up water flavour some American beers have. Yeasty, earthy. Just very very odd.

About the Great British Beer Festival 2008

The pub sign. Great British Beer Festival 2008, Earl's Court, Central London

Summary of Beer Scores

 Total
Exceptional2
Excellent10
Good21
Acceptable35
Poor6

The pub is found in Earl's Court, Central London, SW5 9TA.

Held in the Earls Court exhibition centre for the third year running. This is a huge event, with a huge number of beers. Fantastic festival.

We have visited this pub 5 times, seen 73 different beers and tried them all.

Map location

Postcode: SW5 9TA