On arrival at Paddington I take the delayed District line to West Brompton and miss the connection to the over ground train to Kensington (Olympia).
Like last year the venue has returned to Olympia, apparently due to redevelopment at Earls Court. Everyone seems to prefer Olympia as it has more character. Unlike last year they open an additional hall which makes it less crowded, easier to get to the bars and get served.
Upon arriving and collecting my program and beer glass, I look for my first pint and stumble across the SIBA bar (Small Independent Brewers’ Association) with their selection of champion beers, which I remember from a couple of years ago. Following a recommendation from the barman I begin with a pint of Quantock: Wills Neck, a fantastic aromatic and fruity beer to quench my thirst and start the evening.
A phone call later and I join my brother, Steve and Guy in the next hall. After talk of failed beers past, I mention that I got my beer from the SIBA bar, eyes light up and we all make our way there to spend the majority of the evening drinking Kirkstall: Dissolution IPA, Cotswold Spring: Old Sodbury Mild and Cairngorm: Black Gold.
We finish the evening at the nearby The Campaign Arms bar with Traditional Scottish Ales: Double Expresso Wild Oat Stout and Poachers: Black Crow Stout.