And now its time for that time honored tradition of the night after, the Full English Breakfast: Fruit bowl, orange juice, mushrooms, boiled tomato, fried egg, a couple of rashers of bacon, and a rack of toast with marmalade and tea/coffee. Our luck was holding, and it hit the spot. It did not seem quite so far this time, hoofing it back to the train station. It was a beautiful morning, overcast, and about 60F as we headed to Chichester. We caught the 10:32, which was early, and cost all of #3.00. As you might already know "Chester" is associated with old Roman "camp".
Arriving in Chichester, we headed of for the Tourist Information Center. All my advanced planning realling came to bear hear, as we had exact directions on how to find the TIC. Unfortunately, we followed the directions provided by one of the tour books, found the exact spot of the TIC, and it wasnt there! Undaunted, we followed the signs on the street, and eventually found it. All the walking was a bit taxing for us White Collar types with full packs on backs, but industrial strength deodorant saved the day. At the TIC we planned to book a B&B for the night. As we explored the hundreds of glosssy brochures on the shelves, I stumbled on a tiny flyer for a Real Ale Festival, which started 30 minutes ago. Our luck was improving. We managed to get booked into a very small B&B on Spittlefield road, which is very close to the local College, which housed the festival.
We headed off to the beer festival, on foot, of course. On the way there was a signed posted above the one pointing to the "College of Higher Learning", which pointed to the "BEEREX". A great photo op. We were getting extremely thirsty by the time we arrived at the festival. The event was a fund raiser for a local charity, bu the bar was run by the local CAMRA chapter. This explained the lack of advance publicity to CAMRA members. Admission was #4/person, which is the highest we ever paid to a Real Ale Festival. It did include a festival glass, and 50p worth of tickets for CAMRA members. As usual, each beer selected was individually priced, and paid for. However, rather than paying cash, the used tickets, to keep the bar staff from handling the money. This kept Kim very busy running back to the ticket stand each time we wanted more ale.
There were about 50 Real Ale Casks lined up behind the counter to sample. Try as we
did, we only manged to taste a fraction of them. The local CAMRA members which ran the bar
were very helpful, and freindly. It was relatively uncrowded, being an afternoon session,
which always helps in terms of being social. The session was scheduled to end at 2 PM, but
an executive decision was made to stay open until 3. Too many ales later, we trecked back
to the B&B to rest for a while. These 8 hour time changes are tough! Later, we
ventured out on the town to check out the pubs. I did not have my notebook, so there are
no specifics on the beer. We stopped at a very strange Italian restaurant for dinner. We
wandered by a pub or two, and finally stopped at one with a beer garden in the alley. This
was a simple matter of self preservation, given the level of smoke in the pubs, and it was
still early. The beer garden was a half a dozen picnic tables on the side of the building.
Even though it was fairly cold out, these were all full by 9 PM.
Back to the Mad Brewer goes to England