The two bank holiday weekends in May present plenty of opportunity for drinking beer in the optimistic hope of fine weather. We’ve rounded up a handful of the month’s beer festivals in London; as usual let us know in the comments if we’ve missed anything especially notable.
1-4 May: Windsor Castle Beer Festival 2015
No, it’s not a booze-up at the royal residence west of London, sadly. Instead, the Windsor Castle that's holding a beer festival over the bank holiday weekend is the pub of that name in Carshalton. Festivities kick off at 7pm on Friday and run until Monday (or, presumably, whenever the beer runs out). At the time of writing the expected list of beers has not been published, but last year’s list (PDF) featured 16 gravity-fed real ales from small UK brewers, a handful of ciders and a further range of ales on hand-pumps.
1-4 May: Priory Arms May Bank Holiday
Another pub-based beer festival over the long weekend takes place at Stockwell’s Priory Arms. A couple of dozen beers from cask and keg are promised, as well as six real ciders and a very extensive range of bottled beer. Keep an eye on the pub’s Twitter feed for more updates.
9-10 May: Surbiton Village Fête & Dry Hopped Beer Festival
Nestling under the banner of the Surbiton Food Festival is an interesting combination of village fête and dry hopped beer festival, which runs from 12pm to 6pm on both days of the second weekend of the month in St Andrew’s Square, a short walk from Surbiton station. Beers (of the predominantly hoppy variety, we assume) will be supplied by three local pubs, and will be accompanied by food from local businesses and entertainment from “some of the best bands around”, allegedly.
14-16 May: Kingston Beer & Cider Festival
The Kingston & Leatherhead branch of CAMRA will be staging their 16th beer and cider festival in the Kingston Workman’s Club and Institute from 5pm on Thursday 14 May until 9pm on the Saturday. The festival follows a tried-and-tested CAMRA formula, with a large number (60+) of real ales, a dozen or so ciders and perries, a nominal entry fee (either £3, or £2, or free, depending on when you turn up), entry discounts for card-carrying CAMRA members and a refundable deposit to be paid for a commemorative pint glass for you to carry around all day. Curiously, the festival also appears to be celebrating the anniversary of horse-drawn buses being introduced to Kingston in 1875, for some reason.
22-25 May: The Gun Spring Haze Beer Festival
The Gun, a beer-friendly gastro-pub at the top of the Isle of Dogs, will be marking the spring bank holiday weekend with its Spring Haze Beer Festival. The ‘haze’ here is a reference to the unfined beers that the festival will feature — more than 30 of them — most of which will probably be served with a slight natural haze (not to be confused with a dodgy cloudiness). Hope for good weather and enjoy a few beers on the pub’s terrace overlooking the Thames and the O2.
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