There are happy faces, there are faces that have happiness etched upon them like streaks of charcoal on a canvas and we know what will happen next: colours will concur and art will embed itself on the canvas that was once blank; there are shrieks and creaks of joy as a new beer is sampled, an elderflower note here and a boisterous and bolshy hop character there — mosaic, citra or maybe it’s centennial (while those beers with goldings, EK naturally, and perhaps fuggles, smoulder and shoulder their hurt in the background). There are tables full of people, beer drinkers not consumers please, in front of me, the time is edging towards 1pm and it’s time to take on the happy flight of opening the mouth and engaging with drinkers, one of the best parts of being a writer who makes beer as part of their beat. The Winchester Beer Festival it is, they asked me if I’d like to do a tasting, take myself into the world of a speaker and take people through a series of beers, all of which I linked to Britain’s Beer Revolution. I’ll be honest: speaking in public is easy, standing in front of a bunch of people is such fun, especially with a glass in the hand; I did it first as a kid, not with a glass, some crap in school, and then when in a band it was so easy to engage and so I find myself doing beer tastings and beer talks and I do love them. Back in Winchester, I’m announced as an expert which I quickly tell the assembled I’m not, just a journalist who got impatient with the way beer was being portrayed and thought he’d have a go. And the next hour ebbs and flows, a tide of words, glasses lifted, amber, blonde, midnight black, questions asked, answered, clasped to the chest, this is the way beer goes, this is the way beer goes. Thanks for coming, enjoy the rest of the day, it’s time for a drink or two. Until next time.