Following a couple of months almost (but not quite) bereft of beer festivals in the capital, London’s beer scene gathers pace again in February with a handful of attractive-looking beer drinking opportunities. As always, let us know in the comments if we’ve missed anything notable.
5-7 February: The Snooty Fox Rhythm & Brews Real Ale Festival
Canonbury’s ever-excellent Snooty Fox pub is focusing on two of its strengths — real ale and 50s and 60s music — in next week’s Rhythm and Brews festival. Expect beers from a variety of small UK brewers, including an aged (for one year) porter from Welsh brewery Hopcraft, some sort of food offering, and music on Friday and Saturday nights from live DJs (and, presumably, from their excellent vinyl jukebox at other times). Card-carrying CAMRA members receive an unspecified discount on festival ales, which is nice for them.
18-20 February: The Brewmasters: A Theatre Of Beer
The Grade II listed Clapham Grand building plays host to this slightly oddly-titled festival. It looks set to be a fairly substantial affair, stuffing in 200 cask ales, bottled beers from 20 different countries, and some obligatory cider. The event has been organised in association with Le Gothique (host to regular Wandsworth Common beer festivals) and is being promoted, in part, as something of a substitute for the CAMRA Battersea Beer Festival, which is not taking place this year, due to refurbishment of Battersea Arts Centre. A day’s entrance costs £6 (or £5 for CAMRA members) on the door, but you’ll get 'fast track entry' if you reserve online beforehand.
19-22 February: Craft Beer Rising
Returning for its third year, Craft Beer Rising appears to have progressed from being a would-be iconoclastic beer and music festival, to position itself as an all-encompassing portal of craft beer culture. But actually, it’s just a beer festival, albeit a previously rather excellent one. If the past couple of years are anything to go by, Brick Lane’s Old Truman Brewery venue will be filled with some of the country’s more interesting independent brewers, as well as a handful of specialist beer importers and suchlike. We certainly enjoyed previous incarnations, finding most of the exhibitors quite keen to talk about, and show off, some of their more unusual brews. Advance tickets for each half-day session cost between £17 and £20 (plus a fairly steep booking fee), including £5 of beer tokens and glassware.
20-21 February: Orpington Liberal Club Beer And Cider Festival
On a more modest scale, Orpington Liberal Club is hosting a straightforward, honest, CAMRA-approved beer festival a few minutes’ walk from Orpington station. More than 20 real ales are promised and, interestingly, organisers indicate that they will all be unfined (i.e. not treated with cask finings to make the beer look clearer) and will therefore appear a bit hazy. The club’s website insists that attendees should buy a £6-ish ticket 48 hours in advance, but the ticket itself will serve as a voucher for the drinker’s first two pints.
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.