In summer there is an unfeasible number of beer festivals and since my Bloody Parkinson’s seems to be calmed by a drop of beer, I attend a fair number of these cheerfully amateur and semi-pro events, sated by a long list of classics and something new.

Most of the audience are in a good mood and keen to talk beer and pubs till the cows come home.

But there are exceptions….

A small but fiery man came up to me at the Great British Beer Festival at Olympia and yelled at me above the noise to ‘stop shaking!’. I looked at him, slightly concerned, and asked him what he had just said. ‘STOP SHAKING’ he yelled, this time at what seemed to be maximum volume; he was now going blue in the face. My companion said, pointing at me ‘he’s got Parkinson’s Disease’. The small man’s anger had abated somewhat as he demanded ‘what’s that when it’s at home?’ Then he staggered backwards into the throng in search of his next of no doubt many pints.

Very few visitors to a beer festival go to get drunk and stewards deal with anyone who seems to be getting intoxicated or elephant’s (trunk = drunk in rhyming slang).

Then at the Brussels festival, a very civilised do in the centre of the historic Grand Place, a slightly inebriated German gent apropos nothing at all said, what is it? Pointing at my shaky right hand. Alzheimer’s? So I explained it was something quite different, Bloody Parkinson’s, no less. He nodded sagely and wandered away towards the bars to replenish his glass.. I never saw him again.

We visited Brocante, Moeder Lambic, Poechenellerkelder, Fleu de Papier Dore and more in Brussels and four places in lovely Leuven including Fiere Margriet with 250+ beers.


Brexit, Cameron, Theresa May, Belgian beer (strangely), the rarity of Westvleteren beers, Eurostar prices, beer glasses, why it’s a pity we are Brexiting the EU when countries like Belgium are so great….

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