It’s a busy month for beer festivals in London, with big hitters sharing the bill with some more relaxed drinking opportunities. We’ve rounded up the most notable beery events here, for your imbibing pleasure.
8 July: London Brewers’ Market
London Brewers' Market returns to Old Spitalfields Market for its quarterly showcase of London-based beer makers. Alliteration abounds in their publicity, promising that the event will be “repping this city from Brixton to Bounds Green with incredible IPAs, luscious lagers, stupendous saisons, gorgeous goses, palatable porters, superb stouts, and a plethora of pale ales”. We approve.
25 brewers will be selling their beers for consumption on or off the premises, accompanied by a soundtrack from Independent Label Market. The market runs from 11am until 6.30pm; entry is free.
12-15 July: Ealing Beer Festival
The list of beers to be served at this year’s Ealing Beer Festival has not yet been published, but last year’s festival featured more than 370 British real ales, so we can reasonably expect a similarly enticing selection this year, alongside a considerable number of US and European beers, and a variety of ciders, perries and English wines. The festival’s food offerings follow traditional form, with sausages, roast meats, curry, cheeses and crisps topping the bill.
Once again, the venue for the festival is Walpole Park, a 10 minute walk away from Ealing Broadway or South Ealing stations. Admission costs £5 (or £3 for CAMRA members) on the door, in addition to a £3 refundable glass deposit.
14-15 July: Cuddington Beer Festival
All of the beers at this year’s Cuddington Beer Festival are from London brewers — the festival’s beer list is still being compiled, but currently features 40 beers from 20 brewers — and we're also promised a healthy selection of 28 ciders from around the UK. The venue is a scout hall about 15 minutes’ walk from nearby stations, but a courtesy coach service will ferry festival-goers to and from Stoneleigh station during the evening sessions.
All this can be yours for £6 for ‘standard’ entry to one of three four-hour sessions (plus the cost of the drinks, at a very agreeable £3 per pint), or you can buy a ‘queue buster’ ticket for £15, which includes £10 worth of beer tokens (a saving of £1). Advance booking is strongly recommended, as last year’s festival sold out, with no tickets available on the door.
15 July: London Vegan Beer Fest
Taking over Hackney Downs Studios for a day, this year’s London Vegan Beer Fest promises a “massive” selection of vegan beers, as well as wine, cider, and food sold from three different spaces around the venue. In addition to an array of beers from London brewers, Yorkshire’s Brass Castle brewery will be showcasing a selection of their un-fined brews.
Doors open at 11am, and the festival runs until 8pm. Early bird advance tickets at £5 are still available; when they’re sold prices will increase to £7 (or £9 on the door, if any tickets are left).
21-22 July: ‘Ales Tales’ Belgian Beer Festival
A new event in the London beer festival calendar, Ales Tales brings a welcome focus to beer from Belgian brewers — 18 of which are detailed on the event’s website. The beers will be accompanied by some suitably Belgian food, including double-fried chips (with mayonnaise, naturally), cheese and sausage platters, and other food from a fancily-named chef.
The event takes place in Bethnal Green’s Oval Space over three five-hour sessions (Friday evening, Saturday afternoon, and Saturday evening). This is one of those ‘high-entry-cost-with-unlimited-tastings’ beer festivals, so tickets to each of the sessions costs £40 and gives you access to as many ‘tastes’ of beer as you can swallow (responsibly, of course). Whether or not that represents good value will largely depend on how much you want to drink, what size ‘tastes’ of beer are served, and how long you want to spend queuing for them.
28-30 July: Epping Ongar Railway Real Ale Festival
It may take place slightly outside the M25, but the lure of a real ale festival on a private railway, accompanied by steam trains, taking place just a short heritage bus ride from Epping tube station, is enough for us to feel compelled to recommend it to London beer (and train) lovers. Celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first tube trains serving Ongar station, this year’s festival will be focusing on London and Essex beers amongst the 65+ real ales expected.
There will also be some ciders for those who are that way inclined, and a variety of food to soak it all up. Music will feature each evening, with a dedicated ‘music train’ hosting live performances. Tickets for each day cost £13, with discounts for CAMRA members, children and other concessions.
- A strong contender for London’s shortest beer festival, City Beerfest returns to the impressive surroundings of Guildhall Yard between 12.30pm and 9pm this Thursday (6 July). The line-up of brewers features a mixture of big names and those that are well-known, and the food options look pretty tasty. Entrance is free, but you could save money by purchasing beer tokens in advance.
- Beckenham Beer & Cider Festival returns to Beckenham Rugby Club from 20-22 July, promising more than 65 beers, ciders and perries. Entry costs £3, or free for CAMRA members or those who can prove that they’re under 26 years old.
- This month's beer festival at the Hope in Carshalton is entitled ‘From Beer to Eternity’, and runs from 27-29 July. As usual, keep an eye on their website for details to emerge.
- The Guy Earl of Warwick pub will be hosting the Great Welling Beer Festival from 28-30 July, with more than 30 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.