Posted by: englishdubai | September 3, 2007

Hopping Mad

Having now moved into the old Dubai area I am starting to enjoy social life in some different locations. One of them is the very famous Irish and Century Village. I can imagine it would be very nice there in the Winter as you can comfortably enjoy the gardens and lake where there are tables to take in the view and a beer, not to mention a wide selection of restaurants. The most notable of which is St Tropez a french steak house which I would recommend as providing the best value for money steak meal in Dubai ($11 for a Sirloin)

This weekend the “Hopfest 2007” beer festival took place in a large marquee on the grounds of the Irish village. A number of my friends suggested I should attend and seeing as I enjoy a good beer festival I made the relative short journey being careful not to end up in Sharjah with the newly divided lane arrangement on the Gahoud bridge.

On arrival at about 5.30pm we were greeted by a snaking queue from the marquee. It seemed that the beer tent was all ready full and they were operating a one in one out policy. In times like this the great British talent for queuing in quite patience was very evident. However add to this cold beer, humidity at 70% and an air temperature of 39c made it all rather uncomfortable.

After waiting for thirty minutes and moving about twenty feet we decided to take more radical action. I believe the term “blagged our way in” would be appropriate as my friend’s press passes came out and I was ushered in as a “photographer”. It is amazing what lengths people will go to have a beer in a cool enviroment.

Once inside I did wonder a little about the huge desire to get in. The sawdust on the floor was the first clue. Around three walls of the marquee were stalls selling various beers from across world, a fun rock band were cranking out classic anthems to which about thousand (mainly expats) staggered around to in an effort to dance.

Now usually I would love this type of thing but I made the fatal mistake of turning up sober with all my friends falling around and having fun.

I think the hopfest could improve in a couple of ways:

1.The tables were always going to be used for standing on to enhance the singing and dancing performance of the beer fuelled bold. Sadly they were not built of the same “fibre” as the ones in the Oktoberfest. By the middle of the afternoon most the trestle tables were flat as pancakes:

2.My fun ended when I decided I needed to visit the bathroom. Please to the organizers of these events – make one door for entry only and the other for exit only. Simple I know but there was just a huge crush at each door. So once I finally got out there was little chance to get back in. I called it a night after that.

I felt it was a shame that simple logistics stopped me from enjoying the event as much as I would have liked too. Next year I must also remember to wear a plain white T-Shirt and bring a magic market with me. This would allow the perfect place to record which beers I drank, in what order and their alcoholic content was. Some of my friends did this and appeared to be apple of many a girls eye!

Overall 7/10 – An event to get in as much beer and live music as possible before the quiet reflection time of Ramadan. I hope they will do better next year.


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