Following the traditional December and January hiatus, London’s beer festivals return with some familiar beer-drinking opportunities. As always, let us know in the comments if we’ve missed anything notable.
4-6 February: The Snooty Fox Hop’n’roll Real Ale Festival
Regular as clockwork, it’s the first beer festival of the year at Canonbury’s Snooty Fox pub. Kicking off at 3pm this Thursday and running until the end of play on Saturday, the festival’s theme is ‘rock and roll’, with DJs supplementing the pub’s excellent vinyl jukebox. Information on the beer line-up is quite light, but you should expect local brews to feature heavily, as well as a Ramones-themed IPA brewed especially for the festival by Highbury’s Brewhouse and Kitchen.
16-19 February: The Brewmasters: A Theatre of Beer — Act II
Returning for its second year, the most awkwardly-named beer festival in London provides a handy substitute for the temporarily defunct Battersea Beer Festival (which has been put out of action by last year’s fire at the Battersea Arts Centre). And what a substitute. 150 cask ales and 100 craft beers “from the Wall of Beer” (whatever that’s supposed to mean) look set to provide loads of variety to the boozy lineup in the Grade II listed Clapham Grand building.
The main festival starts on Wednesday 17 February and entry costs £6 on the door (or £5 for CAMRA members), with a strong recommendation to prebook online for ‘fast-track entry’. There’s also a ‘preview’ night from 6pm on Tuesday 16 February, which costs £10 in advance (or £15 on the door) and includes a free glass and one free pint of beer.
19-20 February: Orpington Liberal Club Real Ale and Cider Festival
On a smaller scale, Orpington Liberal Club’s CAMRA-approved festival promises 26 real ales from a well-judged selection of brewers, many of whom are based in south-east London or Kent, plus an obligatory scattering of ciders and perries. A day’s entry costs £6 (plus 40p if booking online), and includes two pints of real ale or cider, which sounds like a bargain to us.
26-27 February: Craft Beer Rising
Never short on hyperbole, Craft Beer Rising, returning for its fourth year, claims to be “the UK’s biggest craft beer festival”. The numbers are certainly impressive: 150 brewers, 600 beers, 10 DJ sets (including performances from Rob da Bank, James Lavelle and Don Letts), a move to a different part of the Old Truman Brewery providing ‘double the capacity’ of previous years’ events, and advance ticket prices ranging from £15 to £20 for a (long-ish) half-day session.
One interesting aspect of the previous years’ Craft Beer Rising festivals has been the presence of brewers manning the bars, providing ample opportunity for beer geeks to chat with the people who actually make the stuff that they’re drinking. Hopefully the event will follow the same format this year.
If you’re a lover of beer or pubs, check out our ever-expanding database of the best pubs in London.