Now that summer is well and truly behind us, it’s time to snuggle up with an autumn beer. Rich stouts, porters and seasonal ales will be on offer at many of the festivals below, often bearing appropriately silly seasonal names. Pint of Bloody Hell Fire, anyone?
The Gunmakers, Clerkenwell. Hosting a spontaneous festival in celebration of National Cask Ale week, the pub promises to have 12 different ales from London’s microbreweries on sale at any one time.
The Snooty Fox, Canonbury. Never short of a pun, this pub’s latest beer festival is Top of the Hops: a celebration of Britain’s finest craft ales. Opening times are 3pm-11pm on Thursday, 12pm-1am on Friday and Saturday, and 12pm-11pm on Sunday, with DJs and entertainment at various times.
The Grape and Grain, Crystal Palace. This festival offers over 60 ales and ciders from UK microbreweries, alongside a BBQ and a varied programme of live entertainment. Entry is free and CAMRA members receive a discount on both food and drink.
Slingbacks Beer Festival, Rosslyn Park. The Slingbacks ladies rugby team hosts its annual beer festival after their 1st XV versus Loughborough match. A selection of beers and ciders will be available at the ground from half time at 3.30pm, or you can arrive at 2.30pm to watch the whole match. Entry to the match is £10, or free for the festival.
Croydon and Sutton Beer and Cider Festival, Wallington Hall. Over 60 ales will be available at the 19th incarnation of this popular festival, alongside international bottled beers, ciders and perries. The event starts at 12pm on 11 October, check the website for full details of timings and entry prices.
The Bulls Head, Croydon. The pub presents 11 cask ales and 2 ciders between 12pm-11pm on all days of its festival.
The Old Fountain, Old Street. To celebrate the fact that they now open at weekends, this pub is hosting a festival that features 18 real ales plus a large bottled range. Opening hours are 12pm-11pm on both days, with live entertainment at selected times.
Twickenham Beer Festival, York House, Twickenham. Local microbreweries are well represented at this extensive festival, which features 70 cask ales and 25 ciders and perries. Entry starts at 5pm on Thursday and 11am on Friday and Saturday, with last admission at 10pm each day. Entry is £3, or £2 for CAMRA members. (Before 5pm on Friday entry is £2 or free for CAMRA members.)
The Alma, Newington Green. Their ‘Octoberfest Yorkshire Real Ale Festival’ (tweed caps and lederhosen, anyone?) celebrates the best of Yorkshire brewing. Entry is free.
Welling United Football Club Beer Festival, Welling. Their second beer festival offers real ales, ciders, food and live music. The event commences at 12pm and last admission is at 9.30pm. Entry is £5, or £4 for WUSA or CAMRA members.
The Nightingale Pub, Balham. The pub’s first ever beer festival will see 10 beers on offer in their garden, focusing on the best that London has to offer. There is also a beer tasting with the Meantime brewery on 20 October at 7pm. For more information visit their Facebook event page.
Wandsworth Common Beer Festival, Le Gothique. This popular Halloween festival, taking place in the appropriately spooky Royal Victoria Patriotic Building, offers more than 100 ales and 25 ciders. Expect lots of dark beers, porters and stouts, as well as the special 666 ale collaboration between Shepherd Neame and Le Gothique (6 hops, 6 malts and 6% abv). Entry is £4, or £3 for CAMRA members, and there is a special all-you-can-drink preview event on the 24th (£25). For more information and reservations visit the Eventbrite page.
Watford Beer Festival, West Herts Sports Club. Few details are available about this festival as yet, but as they’ve been doing it for 18 years beer lovers are probably in safe hands. Admission is £2.50, and you can check the website for more details as they become available.
The Hope, Carshalton. Another as-yet-unspecified, but autumn-themed, festival – check the website nearer the time for details!
The Fox, Hanwell. Expect an interesting range of beers and ciders at their ever-popular autumn beer festival.
Und von jetzt an, etwas ganz anderes (and now for something completely different)
If you’re in the mood for German beer and can’t make it to Munich before the Oktoberfest ends on 7 October, check out:
The Draft House(s): Three German draught beers: Paulaner Oktoberfest, Paulaner Dunkel Weiss and Hopf Helle Weiss, are available at each pub throughout October, alongside food specials. Head down on a Thursday for free beer and sausage tastings from 7pm.
Bavarian Beerhouse: Every Wednesday-Saturday until 27 October you can find a traditional Oktoberfest-style experience at the Bavarian Beerhouse. It’s ticket-only from 6pm and full details are available on their website.
London Fields Brewery. On 13 October, this East London brewery is hosting a free Oktoberfest event, featuring live music, barrel rolling, German food and – of course – lots of beer.
Oktoberfest Pub: Every Friday and Saturday until Christmas you can experience an Oktoberfest-style night at this Fulham pub, which includes live Oompah bands and Bavarian drinking games.