South London ale-heads rejoice. All of this month’s most notable beer festivals in London take place south of the river. Our roundup is dominated by four CAMRA-organised events, but we’ve also found a handful of interesting-looking, less-well-known festivals to fill the gaps.
5-7 May: Bexley Beer Festival
Once again, the poster for the annual Bexley Beer Festival is proud to announce that festivities will take place “in a marquee, not squashed into a small hall like 2013”. If that’s not enough to pique your interest, take a look at the event’s detailed beer list (Excel). Unusually there are very few beers from London breweries featured in the provisional list, the organisers having evidently chosen to showcase a range of beers from further afield in the UK. Entrance to one of the six-hour sessions (or all day Saturday) costs a mere £2.50, with a discount for CAMRA members.
12-14 May: Kingston Beer and Cider Festival
There’s a distinct south east England focus to the confirmed beers (Excel) at the Kingston Beer and Cider Festival, with well-recognised names such as Harveys (East Sussex), Sambrooks (Battersea) and Dark Star (West Sussex) sharing the bill with smaller brewers like Bowman (Hampshire), Pilgrim (Surrey) and XT (Buckinghamshire). The festival’s publicity makes a point of “celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first electric trains to Kingston” — the anniversary appears to have occurred at the end of January — although it’s not entirely clear how this will be commemorated. Go along and find out.
21 May: Bromley Marvellous May Cider Festival
Yes, yes, we know that cider is not beer. But the publicity for the Bromley Marvellous May Cider Festival does promise a real ale bar to accompany the main attraction: more than 20 real ciders and perries. The festival takes place in the H. G. Wells Centre (named after the author who was born in, but retained little love for, Bromley), and runs from 11am-11pm for one day only. Entrance costs a trifling £2 (or £1 for CAMRA members).
26-28 May: Kidbrooke Beer and Cider Festival
South east London CAMRA’s annual beer festival returns to Charlton Park Rugby Club for its third year. We can’t find a beer list online, but the organisers intend to serve 50 real ales — as many as possible from south east London brewers — as well as obligatory ciders and perries. There’s also the promise of a good selection of bottled beers, provided by Nunhead’s wonderful Beer Shop.
- Once again the annual Surbiton Village Fete, this Saturday and Sunday afternoon (7-8 May), features a dry hopped beer festival. Pale ales are sure to feature heavily.
- CAMRA favourite, the Hope in Carshalton, will be hosting one of its many beer festivals from 26-28 May, this one devoted to mild (and similar beer styles). Details are scarce at the time of writing, but check the pub’s website nearer the date for more info.
- The Crystal Palace Beer Festival, running for seven hours in the Holmesdale Road stand of Selhurst Park stadium, promises beers from Croydon's Cronx brewery and other UK brewers, accompanied by live music and suchlike. Tickets cost £10 in advance (or £15 on the door), but take note: contradicting much of the official publicity, the festival has been rescheduled to 28 May.
- Eltham’s Park Tavern will be serving more than 25 “premium quality” beers and ciders from 29-30 May. With optimism for the bank holiday weekend’s weather prospects, a barbecue and Pimm's bar are also set to feature, as well as a soul DJ and live music.
As always let us know in the comments if we’ve missed anything significant.
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