August is a month of big beer festivals in London, but there are also some more modestly-sized beer-drinking opportunities to be found. We’ve rounded up some of the best.
5-14 August: London Beer City
London Beer City, 10 days of beery events in various venues around the capital, starts limbering up this Friday, before kicking off in earnest with a big launch party at the Five Points Brewing Company on Saturday afternoon. The schedule of events features tap takeovers, quizzes, brewery tours, homebrew competitions, brewery-hosted lunches and dinners, beer and food pairings, beer-related history talks, guided walks, karaoke and mini-golf. There’s also a special beer to commemorate the festivities, collaboratively brewed by Fourpure, Beavertown, Fuller’s and Five Points.
9-13 August: CAMRA Great British Beer Festival
As always, August’s beer gatherings are dominated (some might say overshadowed) by the Great British Beer Festival (a.k.a. GBBF). Most lovers of real ale will know the formula by now: Olympia will be filled with 900 real ales, ciders and perries representing most of the country's brewers, as well as a huge selection of international beers. A variety of beer-soaking food options will be on hand (usually in the form of pies, sausages, burgers, steak, chips, curry, and some truly excellent pork scratchings), and a big stage will feature an array of ‘live entertainment’ that most people will ignore.
If you want to join the 50,000 or so other festival-goers, a day’s entry will cost you £11 in advance (with a £2 discount for CAMRA members), or a few quid more if you’re one of those people who prefers to queue up for ages on the day.
12-14 August: London Craft Beer Festival
For beer-drinkers who prefer their beards to be more ironic than many of those likely to be seen at the GBBF, the London Craft Beer Festival returns to Bethnal Green’s Oval Space for its fourth year. More than 250 beers from over 30 brewers will feature, with a distinct London bias (but some interesting additions from further afield). This year the organisers have thankfully managed to resist describing the food offerings as ‘street’, and the musical accompaniment comes from artists and DJs such as Public Service Broadcasting, Craig Charles and Chase & Status.
Entry for most of the five-hour sessions costs £38.50 (as it did last year), with the cost of all your “small pours” of beer included. At the time of writing, a few early-bird tickets (at £33.50) are also available.
- This Saturday afternoon (6 August), Richmond Adult Community College plays host to a showcase of beers brewed in and around Richmond. Expect ales from Fuller’s, Twickenham Fine Ales, Kew Brewery and several others, with opportunities to meet the brewers. Entrance costs £5 (or £4 for CAMRA members).
- The excellent White Horse in Parson’s Green will be serving beers from six Sussex breweries from 25 to 29 August, accompanied by live music on the Friday and Sunday evenings.
- From 6pm on Friday 26 August until 11pm on Saturday 27 August, Orpington Liberal Club’s Real Ale and Cider Festival will serve up 26 real ales, ciders and perries. The £6 entry charge includes two pints of beer or cider, which sounds like a bargain to us.
- Cider-lovers might want to pop into Spitalfield’s Water Poet between 27 and 29 August. Ciders from around the UK are promised, alongside a hog roast and live music throughout the bank holiday weekend.
If you’re a lover of beer or pubs, check out our ever-expanding database of the best pubs in London.