December often stands out as the quietest month for beer festivals in London. However, a well-established annual dissenter to this trend is the Pig’s Ear Beer & Cider Festival, which returns to the Grade II* listed Round Chapel in Hackney this week.
The festival is organised by CAMRA’s East London and City branch, so it should be no surprise that the vast majority of the beers will be of the cask-conditioned variety. This year the organisers have paid special attention to dark beers, with a bar dedicated to more than 50 different porters, stouts, milds and other dark beer styles. Highlights are set to include deeply-malted beers from several London breweries, such as Oatmeal Stout from Howling Hops, Truman Brewery’s long-matured London Keeper and a curious-sounding Rye Mild from the One Mile End brewery.
It’s not all about dusky ales, though. With roughly 230 cask beers available, most other real ale styles are ably represented, and more than 90 draught and bottled imported beers and 40 ciders and perries will further bolster the variety of fermented drinks available. A quick perusal of the provisional beer list (PDF) indicates many beers from London and the South East (with a particular focus on East London brewers), in line with CAMRA’s LocAle scheme.
The festival starts Tuesday and runs until Saturday, between the hours of 12pm and 11pm. A day’s entry costs £5 (or £3 for CAMRA members), to be paid on the door.
The 2014 Pig’s Ear Beer & Cider Festival, 2-6 December, The Round Chapel, 1d Glenarm Road, E5 0PU. See the festival poster (PDF) for more details.