First orders at the Great British Beer Festival

LONDON, Aug 1, 2006 (AFP) – The Great British Beer Festival served the first of an estimated 300,000 weird and wonderful pints from across the globe Tuesday as a London exhibition hall was transformed into the biggest pub in the world. More than 700 different real ales, ciders, perries, and bottled beers are available for tasting during the five-day event at the Earl’s Court exhibition centre in west London, Britain’s answer to Munich’s famous Oktoberfest.

Among the more unusually-named beers being poured are Fursty Ferret, Funky Monkey, Strip And At It, Jobling’s Swinging Gibbet, Dragon Smoke Stout, Monkman’s Slaughter and Dark Side of the Moose.

The annual festival, now in it’s 29th year, is the world’s largest showcase for thirst-quenching real ales from small microbreweries, long-established family brewers and some of the world’s best known brands.

Real ale is beer brewed using traditional ingredients and left to mature in the cask from which it is served in the pub.

“More than 47,000 people came to the 2005 festival and, because of the new larger venue, we are looking forward to welcoming even more this year,” said Mike Benner, chief executive of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) which is behind the event.

“The