There’s a strong south-of-the-river CAMRA flavour to London’s beer festivals in May, although a couple of west-London pubs also get a look in. We’ve rounded up the most notable beer drinking opportunities here.
9-11 May: Bexley Beer Festival
Happy to repeat an evidently successful formula, the Bexley Beer Festival returns for its 14th instalment, offering up more than 90 beers and ciders from around the UK at the Dartfordians Community Sports Club (a 10 minute walk from Bexley station). As with last year’s festival, the provisional list of beers and ciders is meticulously detailed in this Excel spreadsheet, complete with tasting notes and lists of allergens. Impressive.
A mere £3 (or nothing at all if you’re a card-carrying CAMRA member or can prove you’re under 26) buys you entry to each day’s session, which sounds like a bargain to us.
16-18 May: Kingston Beer & Cider Festival
The organisers of the Kingston Beer & Cider Festival always gain pleasure from theming their event around a tenuous historical anniversary, and this instalment is no different — this year’s theme commemorates the 40th anniversary of the “withdrawal of the last RF type buses from service in Kingston”. So now you know.
Anniversaries aside, the beer list (PDF) promises an interesting variety of real ales (about 75 of them), alongside a dozen ciders and perries. Entry costs £3 for the Thursday evening or Friday sessions, or just £1 for the Saturday session (while the beer lasts). CAMRA members receive a £1 discount, or those who sign up to CAMRA at the festival receive two free pints.
18 May: Crystal Palace F.C. Beer Festival
Crystal Palace F.C. is hosting its ninth annual beer festival at Selhurst Park Stadium from 12pm-7pm on Saturday 18 May. With more than 200 beers and ciders from a variety of UK independent brewers, including a number of south-London microbreweries, and a potentially large turnout — organisers state that more than 2,500 people attended last year’s event — this looks set to be one of south-London’s largest annual beer festivals, despite its solitary seven-hour session. Football fans needn’t worry about missing the F.A. Cup final, as it's being shown on the stadium’s big screen (although who really cares about seeing Man City smash Watford?).
An advance ticket costs £12 (an £8 saving from the price on the door), and includes a commemorative pint glass upon arrival.
23-25 May: Kidbrooke Beer & Cider Festival
Another perennial favourite, the Kidbrooke Beer & Cider Festival, returns to Charlton Park RFC to serve more than 50 beers, with a focus on local south-east London breweries such as Canopy, Bullfinch, Southwark, Spartan, and Anspach and Hobday, as well as decent selection of ciders. Food is provided by the pizza technicians at Wandercrust, alongside other local vendors.
As with previous years, the festival runs from noon-10.30pm each day, and entry costs a mere £2 (£1 for CAMRA members).
- The Forester in Ealing is staging its 13th beer festival from 8-11 May. Expect 27 ales, a Thai barbecue, and live music across four days of hopefully joyous revelry.
- More-or-less simultaneously, the nearby Green W7 pub is also hosting a beer festival from 8-11 May, with more beer, more barbecued food (and pizza), and more live music courtesy of the Hanwell Hootie.
- The annual Surbiton Food Festival includes a dry-hopped beer festival, as part of the Village Fete over the weekend of 11-12 May. Festivities run from noon to 6pm in St. Andrew’s Square.
If you’re a lover of beer or pubs, check out our ever-expanding database of the best pubs in London.