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The Smoke

December 08, 2006 at 04:21 PM | categories: UK, travel, beer, XQuery, MarkLogic | View Comments

Happy chance puts me in London on the last two nights of East London CAMRA's Pig's Ear festival. I'm here to teach a 5-day session on XQuery and MarkLogic Server, but that doesn't start until Monday. So I have time for another.

Pig's Ear 2006

I'm using Hilton points to stay at the Waldorf, these first two nights. Then I'll move into a cheaper place for work. To get to the Pig's Ear, I walked up to Bloomsbury Square, then took the 55 bus to Hackney Town Hall. The festival was in a place called Ocean, across Mare St from the Town Hall (and from the Hackney Empire) - in other words, quite far from LondonLand. I suspect that I wasn't the only American tourist in the crowd, but it was probably close.

The Pig's Ear has been on hiatus for a few years, but I've been once before, when it was in Stratford (no Avon please - we're Londoners). The new hall is a bit sterile, compared to Stratford Town Hall, but it does have much more room. Stratford was always standing only, while Ocean seems to have enough seating for a much larger crowd. The festival beers still tend toward "winter warmers" - strong stuff. That isn't my favorite style: these days I prefer milds. I did try "Night on Mare Street", and found it dangerously easy to drink. But I managed to try every mild on the program, too - St Augustine's Tower was nice. I also tried several cloudy halves from the cider and perry counter. That's good stuff, and it's impossible to find in the USA. It's impossible to find through most of the UK, too. No, the processed stuff doesn't count. Sorry.

But you didn't come here to listen to me rant - you came for a pint. Cheers!

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