|Beer and industrial chic at Brew//LDN
The event begins with a trade session on the Friday afternoon – it's quite a big event for publicans and others to meet new producers of food and drink, then it's open to the public that evening and the following day.
"The best value day out in London, at the UK's largest and most diverse craft beer festival," the organisers claim, ambitiously but not unreasonably. Tickets are a shade under £30 per session, or £25 each if you buy six – and those prices include the booking fee, for which I applaud the organisers, as I’m fed up with being stung extra for rip-off ‘booking fees’! The ticket includes live DJs and music, but not the beer, which averages a fiver a pint or so, or the street food vendors.
I've been to Brew//LDN several times, admittedly mostly for the trade session when it’s quieter and the actual brewers are often in attendance. I’ve always enjoyed though: it’s friendly, with a good variety of beer and beer people – and often some discoveries to make. As well as new beers, in the past I’ve also met interesting new mead, spirits and liqueur producers there – that's one of several ways it's diverse.
Beers in the Fuller's brewery yard
One I missed when I first published this blog – because although I had been told it was on again for the first time in four years, I didn't have the actual date yet – is the London Brewers Alliance festival, on Saturday 17th June**. Even better, this excellent event is back in the brewery yard at the Fuller's Griffin Brewery, thanks to former Fuller's brewing director John Keeling pulling some strings, I believe!
JUST IN: The LBA festival has been postponed "Due to circumstances beyond our control" – it's now booked for Saturday 16th September. I'm rather disappointed because I was looking forward to it not for Kingy's birthday, but as an early Fathers Day treat!
|The 2018 LBA festival
The next biggie is of course the Great British Beer Festival, once again at London’s Olympia and this year running from Tuesday 1st August to Saturday 5th. There’s publicity for this all over the web (and Facebook) so I probably don’t need to go into detail, except to say hundreds of real ales plus some “real keg” and the foreign beer bars. Lovely!
August is London beer month
Immediately after that – so if you’re planning a trip to London, make it that fortnight – is London Craft Beer Festival with four sessions across Friday 11th and Saturday 12th August at Tobacco Dock in Wapping. It’s brought to you by the folks from We Are Beer, who also run the Manchester and Bristol craft beer festivals.
A late entry onto this festival list isn't huge, but it is a 'national event', technically at least! It's the 4th National Woodfest of the Society for the Preservation of Beers from the Wood (SPBW). with more than 30 beers not just in casks, but in wooden casks. Last year I enjoyed the 3rd Woodfest, which was held in Twickenham. This year it's actually just outside London, in Egham, but it's still only a shortish train ride out.
Undoubtedly there will be more – I know there’s various fringe events planned for the first two weeks of August, for example, and then there's all the CAMRA local festivals such as Ealing, but I think that will do for now. Cheers!
*This is the former Harmsworth printing factory, which printed newspapers until 2012, then became a music and events location, and is now sadly due for demolition so the owners, British Land, can build offices instead. Yes, more offices, of which London already appears to have a surplus. I really despise property companies sometimes – no, most of the time.
**My diary tells me this is also the King's birthday, but while it would make a great birthday outing for you or me, I fear his security would eff it up for the rest of us!