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The 2011 Great British Beer Festival

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Featuring more than a thousand real ales, ciders and beers from all over the world, the 2011 Great British Beer Festival is a must-visit and must-drink event, though of course it must-be-done-in-a-responsible-manner too.

The five-day festival, taking place at Earls Court, is packed with events to keep you entertained. The pump pulling begins on Tuesday 2nd August with a very important happening - that of the Champion Beer of Britain presentation.

The Great British Beer festival also features tutored beer tastings, live music (from the likes of Adrian Edmondson and the Bad Shepherds, the Fulham Brass Band, and the Chaminade String Quartet), book signings by beer experts and a number of auctions.

The auctions gives you a chance to bid for a place on a trip to Elgood's family brewery in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire. You can also bid for a place on another trip - to the award-winning Castle Rock Brewery in Nottingham. Click here for more information on the auctions.

Hat Day takes place on Thursday 4th August. This is one of the festival's great traditions - make a hat (they're usually classifiable as "ridiculous") and plop it on your bonce. Wearers of the best hats will be rewarded with beer vouchers by judges wandering about at the festival.

If you enjoy pub quizzes, be sure to attend the Great British Beer Festival on Saturday 6th August.

Lots of prizes on offer, kindly provided by Adnams Brewery. The top prize is a one-night stay for four people in the Swan Hotel in Southwold (dinner, bed & breakfast included) together with an exclusive brewery tour with Adnams' Head Brewer.

Tutored tastings will be taking place throughout the five days, allowing you to learn more about some of the world's best beers. Tickets for these events sell out quick, so you'd better act fast if you want to join.

Of course, beside the barrels of beer, there'll also be plenty of other refreshments available. The festival's organisers have lined up lots of food and drink stalls selling a wide range of goodies. Merchants include Merry Berry Truffles, The Truckle Cheese Company, Pipers Crisps, Proper Cornish Pasties, and The Crusty Pie Company.

Advance day tickets for the Great British Beer Festival cost 6 for CAMRA members and 8 for non-CAMRA members. Buy on the day and they'll cost a couple of quid extra. For more information on ticket permutations, click here.

The festival can be enjoyed by all, from the casual drinker to the connoisseur.
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Why? You won't find a greater variety of beers to try than here.
When: 2nd - 6th August, 2011
Where: Earls Court, Warwick Road, London SW5 9TA
Cost: 6 - 10. See article for more information.
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