Morning, or as they say in Olde Sussex dialect, "Nin!"
Last night's final update didn't quite go to plan - things remained hectic right up until 10.30pm. I then trotted down to the Sussex Bar to get myself a half of Harvey's excellent Prince of Denmark, which at 7.4% is definitely in "getting close to the end of the session" territory and is very nice (if a little sweet and treacly), when I got caught up in a rush and ending up pulling pints (and thirds and halves) right up until "Time" was called. I also heard a classic quote whilst pausing to buy a chili-pickled egg (one of my weaknesses) - "They've called 'time' early down here, so I'm going upstairs...!". Needless to say, the Sussex Bar and the Main Hall are still in the same time zone and the gentleman in question found that his quest was fruitless. We do have to stick very closely to the rules - although we're not permanent, we do have a licence that we need to have renewed every year, so we really can't bend the rules!
Anyway, my first hour back at Hove Town Hall has involved running around and speaking to the cellar teams to see what's come on for Friday lunchtime and what's already sold out. Tiny Rebel - from Newport in Wales - took the honour for the first beer to sell out, with their well-received Urban IPA that sold out last night! It was closely followed this morning when the last couple of pints of Oakham Citra were supped within 20 minutes of the doors opening. Unfortunately for me, I didn't get a chance to try either - I've made up for this today by using some 'inside information' on what's likely to be the next beer to go. I can't mention the beer itself (for fear of causing a stampede!), but I can reveal that it's from the Sussex Bar.
People often ask us why we can't get more beer in to replace the ones that have sold out - or why we can't go to the brewery for a new cask. As I'm sure a lot of people already know, real ale is alive in the cask, and it needs time to settle (or 'condition') - once the cask is tapped, the very small amounts of air cause the yeast to sink to the bottom and form sediment. Only when this happened over the course of a few days is the beer ready to be enjoyed - the decision as to when each beer is ready rests with our cellar team. We also have limited space - we've squeezed in just over 220 casks this year, but not all are the same size - and there's no 'sale or return' with a live, temperamental product like real ale, so all we can do is try our best to estimate what people are likely to drink over the five sessions and buy in the appropriate amount of beer.