Twissup!

Last Saturday I managed to attend the Twissup event in Birmingham, and I have to say I’m glad I did.  This wasn’t the first ever Twissup, but it was certainly the first one in the Birmingham area, and provided the slightly daunting opportunity of meeting up with a number of other beer bloggers and enthusiasts from around the area.  As the day drew closer there was a looking like about 8-10 likely attendees, some of whom I’d interacting with in the past via blogs and tweets.  But I’d never met any of the group before.

Being quite good at turning up at anything late I was pleasantly surprised to find myself on the train I planned to catch, which would get me into New St with about 10-15 minutes to get down to the first venue, the Lamp in Digbeth.  In fact, from the messages passing around Twitter it began to look like almost everyone else was running late and when I walked into the pub a few minutes past the 4pm start time I didn’t know who, if anyone, would be in there.

As it happened the Lamp was quite busy.  A few small groups of 2 or 3 who I felt could all be safely pigeon-holed as highly improbably bloggers.  A couple of chaps at a table looked more likely, but also seemed just slightly too comfortable to be waiting for a stream of strangers to trickle in.  Next to them, a-ha, one bloke by himself, late thirties perhaps, engrossed in his phone.  Seems a good candidate.  But strange to have chosen a table where at most three of us would have squeezed round, let alone the larger group we were expecting.  A took over the tables in the window where there was more room, and resorted to my own phone to see if anyone was tweeting that they had also arrived.

A few moments later, Danny (@dannybrown76) did just that, and replying with my location soon found myself meeting the person who must have quite literally followed me into the bar.  Over the course of the next hour, more trickled in – Carl (@carldurose), Shaun (@19irishdragon), Roberto (@robertorossuk), Tim (@marbletim) and Chris (@ckdsaddlers).  Finally it was possible to put faces to the names, and to realise that actually all these mysterious “e-people” with whom I’ve been building up an online rapport, are actually just everyday real people too, just like me.  Conversation flowed, and so did the beers, and by the time we moved off through the rain to the Anchor a few minutes walk away it was much more like meeting up with old friends rather than new ones.

At the Anchor the beer choices expanded on the limited range at the Lamp, and the group expanded too with the addition of David (@mrdavidj) and (I eventually found out – missing out on the introductions at the time!) Stewart (@therealstwebert).  A couple of hours passed surprisingly quickly, and we were off again, in the dry this time, to the Post Office Vaults.  By now we were all getting well into our stride and the extensive range in the fridges behind the bar bore the brunt of it.  I think it would also be fair to say that as a group we’d gelled pretty well by this stage.

I’d love to offer a detailed write-up of all the beers I, and others, drank throughout the day, but to be perfectly honest, my recollection is a little hazy, especially for the later ones.  I could do some forensic analysis of the tweets that appeared over the course of twissup, but for me, this was about more than the beer.  It was about making a human connection in a virtual world, and for me that was achieved very successfully.  Judging by the tweets amongst the group on Sunday I’m not the only one and so I’m pretty sure this won’t be the last time that this group meets up, along with anyone else who wants to join us next time.

Roll on Birmingham Twissup 2!

P.S. apologies if there was anyone present who I’ve missed out in this roll call – no-one is knowingly excluded…

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