July is usually a busy month for beer festivals, with organisers keen to provide opportunities for drinking beer in the sun. Well the weather might be a bit slow to respond, but there are still plenty of festivals in London this month. Hope for better weather, or bring a raincoat and get stuck in anyway.
6-9 July: Ealing Beer Festival
One of London’s larger beery gatherings, the annual Ealing Beer Festival, kicks off at noon on 6 July and continues until 6pm on the Saturday. As a CAMRA festival, the biggest contingent of the huge amount of booze available is real ale — more than 370 different ales from numerous British brewers. However a considerable number of US and European beers will also feature, alongside a variety of ciders, perries and English wines. The festival’s website provides comprehensive lists of the drinks that are expected. Food offerings are formed of traditional beer-soaking fare, with pies, burgers, sausages, chips, roast meat and cheese featuring.
Once again, the venue for the festival is Walpole Park, a 10 minute walk away from Ealing Broadway or South Ealing stations. Admission prices are very slightly more expensive than they were last year, but still entirely reasonable at £5 (or £3 for CAMRA members). Advance tickets are not available, so consider getting there early to beat the queues!
9 July: Forty Hall Farm Beer & Blues Festival
Forty Hall Farm, at the top of Enfield's Forty Hill, is staging a festival of beer and music on the second Saturday of the month. Details of the beer offerings are not specific, but the event is supported by CAMRA and a local pub, and promises a good selection of London and UK ales to get everyone in the mood to watch the dozen-or-so blues bands performing across two stages. Advance tickets cost £10, or a considerably-discounted £5 for CAMRA members, and include shuttle-bus transport from Enfield train stations.
15-16 July: Cuddington Beer Festival
The focus for this year's Cuddington Beer Festival is beers (and ciders) from the West Country. The provisional beer line-up suggests real ales from about 30 brewers from the west of England, which should provide an interesting alternative to all the London-centric beer focus that many of the capital's beer festivals often tend to favour. A ticket for one of the three four-hour sessions costs £5, or £10 for a 'queue buster' ticket that includes tokens for two pints of beer. The venue is a bit of a trek from nearby stations, but a courtesy coach service will ferry festival-goers to and from Stoneleigh Station during the evening sessions.
29-31 July: Epping-Ongar Line Real Ale Festival
The Epping Ongar Railway Real Ale Festival is the only annual beer festival outside the M25 that we tend to include in this round-up. Why? Because there are STEAM TRAINS! As if that wasn’t enough, this year’s festival promises 60 real ales (twice the number available at last year’s festival) and 20 ciders. Tickets cost £13, with discounts for CAMRA members, children and other concessions.
- London Brewers’ Market is holding two events this month: on 9 July they'll be showcasing beers from six brewers at the Hackney Summer Fete, and on 26 July their quarterly event at Spitalfields Market returns, with beer from 26 brewers. Plenty of opportunity to get a fix of London-brewed beers, then.
- A mere four years after the second Beckenham Beer Festival, the third instalment is due to take place at Beckenham Rugby Club from 21-23 July. Admission is free for CAMRA members, or £3 for non-members.
- This month's beer festival at the Hope in Carshalton runs from 28-30 July, and is entitled Dray of the Dead for some reason. Keep an eye on their website for details to emerge.
- Welling's Guy Earl of Warwick pub will be hosting its Great Welling Beer Festival from 28-31 July, with more than 40 ales and ciders as well as live bands.
If you're a lover of beer or pubs, check out our ever-expanding database of the best pubs in London.