London was once the world capital of brewing. Five years ago we thought we'd lost almost all our brewing, but recent months have seen an amazing regrowth, with the number of ale breweries jumping from barely a handful after Young's closed down in 2006 to more than two dozen now.
That was the message last night from CAMRA's Christine Cryne, launching the London City of Beer project to an audience of writers and other luminaries from the worlds of food, tourism, and of course drinks. In essence, LCoB is a celebration of the city's pubs and beers. As well as a website listing beer festivals, brewery open days, suggested pub crawls and lots more beery information, there's going to be a special issue of London Drinker magazine called A Visitor's Guide to London, with lots of useful gen for anyone new to the London pub.
This magazine is intended for the many visitors who will come to the capital for this very special and busy summer, whether it's for the Queen's Jubilee, as tourists, or for some sporting event that's taking place across town. It will launch at the Ealing Beer Festival, which opens on July 4th.
“Between July and August we intend to make as much noise as possible about pubs and beer in London,” Christine said. “This is a showcase that's never going to come again.”
And of course she wants as many people to get involved as possible: on the LCoB website you can download forms to get your events put into the listings, there's a supporter's poster for download too. Sadly, none of this will be much help if you're unfortunate enough to be in the Olympics “exclusion zone” - the greedy spivs and numbskulls of the London 2012 Organising Committee have sold the “exclusive pouring rights” to Dutch lager-maker Heineken, and no other beer branding will be allowed in the vicinity.