I have always been a bit coy when asked about lager at the Great British Beer Festival. Firstly I don't know much about what is on offer and secondly I don't like taking the focus away from the main issue being the real ale there.
In the last week I have overcome the first issue. After a "toys out of pram" moment in the press office, I set off to find alternative employment quickly bumping into the foreign bar manager (that's the manager of the foreign bar) and asked him if he needed help for a couple of hours. "We can always use a spare pair of hands on the German/Czech bar on a Friday night" he grinned and off I went to learn more about lagerboys (and girls) at GBBF.
It was the hardest I worked all week. With about 30 draft beers from Germany and Czech Republic on offer, I had to quickly learn the system for finding out where each one was as the customers were coming thick and fast. I know Friday is probably the busiest night but this was unrelenting. I poured beer after beer for just over two hours. Long queues of customers forming for the best that Germany and CR has to offer at £4.20 a pint or £3.50 for bottles, the preference being more for Budvar or Jever than the other fifty German regionals in the fridge. People were thirsty and we were doing our best to accommodate them as quickly as possible.
So this is where that lager-heads hang out; just as friendly as the beer tickers but probably an average of a generation younger and all happy to pay a pound a pint more than those enjoying the real ales.
A most enjoyable and eye-opening session and I had lost my Bieres Sans Frontieres virginity but I was relieved to be relieved and set off to the auction at the stage where further help was needed taking and counting the money - much more my style.