Our November selection of beer festivals within the M25 is well dispersed between Watford, Caterham, Waltham Forest and Heathrow (with a couple in Zone 1 too), so you’ll need to top up your Oyster if you’re planning to visit them all. As always let us know in the comments if we’ve missed anything worthwhile.
1 November: The Hawkhurst Vault Ale Fest
To celebrate having been open for six months, Brick Lane’s Hawkhurst Vault cafe is partying with beer, food and music this Saturday. The beer is provided by East London Brewing Company and the Redchurch Brewery, food is prepared by Raw Stories, and several live acts are coming up with the musical goods throughout the afternoon and evening. This event will almost certainly be more modest in scale than most traditional beer festivals, but you don’t have to be big to be beautiful, and judging from the details on the Facebook page it looks like it could be a fun party.
6-8 November: Watford Beer Festival
Out to Watford, where the local CAMRA branch is staging a beer festival at the West Herts Sports Club. Somewhere in the region of 80 real ales (plus a compulsory handful of ciders and perries), largely originating from London or Hertfordshire, will be served, alongside hot and cold food (at certain times). Entry is £2.50, or free for members of CAMRA or the sports club. See the festival’s website for more details.
7-9 November: Winter Brew Fest
BL-NK, a short walk north of the Old Street roundabout, plays host to this decidedly upbeat-looking festival. Following a suspiciously similar model to the London Craft Beer Festival, Winter Brew Fest is serving more than 40 beers from 11 London brewers (and a cider from Scotland) in several five-hour sessions. Entry to a session costs £25, and includes a tasting glass and 12 tokens that can be used to taste a third of a pint of any of the beers — we’ll let you decide for yourself what sort of value that represents. Food (and further beer, if needed) can be purchased for more cash, and music is provided throughout the festivities by live bands and DJs.
12-16 November: Waltham Forest Sports & Social Club Real Ale Festival
Beers from Wales are the focus of this festival, which runs from 5pm on the Wednesday until 6pm on the Saturday. Aside from a selection of about 20 beers, ciders and perries, entertainment is provided by a live band (terrifyingly named The Bikini Beach Band & The Action Men) on the Friday night and, unconventionally for a beer festival, a screening of the England v Slovenia match on the Saturday. Entry costs a mere £2 (free for CAMRA or club members).
21-22 November: Caterham Beer Festival
Down to Surrey for the Caterham Beer Festival, where a £5 entry fee gives you access to more than 50 beers, ciders and perries, which the organisers hope will include some of this year’s Champion Beers Of Britain (although this is not yet confirmed). The festival is split into three five-hour sessions, however the first hour of each session will be restricted to those who have purchased tickets in advance.
28-29 November: Heathrow Beer Festival
West Middlesex CAMRA joins forces with BA Clubs for the Heathrow Beer Festival, taking place at Imperial College Heston’s ‘Concorde Club’. More than 35 real ales and ciders feature, as do silent films, televised sport and live bands. Entry costs £4 (or £3 for CAMRA, BA Clubs or NUS members), although entry prices rise to £10 (or £8 in advance) from 6pm on the Saturday, to cover the costs of the live bands.
If you’re a lover of beer or pubs, why not buy the Londonist book of London pub crawls for less than the price of a pint.