Beer Background
Beer Hall at Hawkshead Brewery #2

Great British Beer Festival 2006

Added: Saturday, July 1st 2006

The demand for cask beer in Britain and the fast-growing micro-brewery sector has forced CAMRA - the Campaign for Real Ale - to move its flagship Great British Beer Festival in London from Olympia to the broader acres of Earls Court.

The festival, which runs from 1-5 August, will feature 500 cask beers from all parts of Britain and - unlike most other national beer events - will also offer a vast array of foreign beers including properly made lager beers.

Day one begins with intensive rounds of beer tasting to produce finalists for the Champion Beer of Britain competition in the Mild, Bitter, Best Bitter, Strong Bitter, Golden and Speciality beer categories. The winners, including the prestigious Champion Beer of Britain, will be announced that afternoon at a trade session open to brewers and publicans. Will Crouch Vale Brewers Gold - last years champion - hold on to its crown or will another beer take the top award and the increased demand and production that follows?

The festival proper for the general public gets under way that evening. Full details of opening hours and prices can be found on As well as sampling the vast choice of beer on offer in the main halls, visitors can attend special tutored tasting sessions. Three hosted by myself are sold out but there is still time to book for bottled beer with Jeff Evans (Thursday), Beer Styles with Adrian Tierney-Jones (Thursday), German Beers with Lorenzo Dabove and Tom Perera (Friday) and Endangered Beer Styles with Keith Bott (Friday). To book tickets phone Caroline Clerembeaux on 01727 867201.

Caledonian XPA The Caledonian Brewing Company, brewers of Deuchars IPA, crowned Champion Beer of Britain in 2002, will be introducing its latest beer, Caledonian XPA at the Great British Beer Festival, with samples available at the Deuchars Mobile Cask Bar.

Caledonian XPA is a 4.3% golden beer which has been brewed using optic and wheat malt giving the beer a full, malty, morish flavour. Northdown and Cascade hop flowers gives the beer its citric hop aroma.

Stephen Crawley, Managing Director of the Caledonian Brewing Company said: "Were delighted to be introducing Caledonian XPA at the Festival; it's the perfect showcase for our new product. In the last year, we've trialled XPA in key stockists who share our passion for serving quality beer and received some great feedback. Caledonians Head of Brewing, Dr Robert Burton and his team have sourced the best quality ingredients, tweaking the beer to make sure it has perfect balance and ensuring that the consistency is second to none." One satisfied customer is Linda Gamble, Manageress of the Ferry Tap in South Queensferry who said: "We trialled XPA as one of our guest ales and asked our customers their thoughts on the beer and watched as they supped a few pints - they really enjoyed it. In fact, XPA sold double the amount of any normal guest ale and we are constantly being asked by our customers to stock it again."

Caledonian XPA will be available from the beginning of September.