The beer festival calendar tends to become more sparse as we approach the end of the year, so we’re rounding up London’s best beer drinking opportunities in November and December in one hit here.
2-4 November: Watford Beer Festival
Watford’s well-established beer festival returns to West Herts Sports Club for its 23rd instalment from Thursday until Saturday. Once again something in the region of 80 beers, ciders and perries from around the UK (with a particular focus on those from Hertfordshire) will feature, with the (very) provisional beer list indicating a good variety of independently brewed ales.
Doors open at 4pm on Thursday, or 11am on Friday and Saturday, and the festivities last until 11pm each day. Entry will cost a mere £2.50, or nothing at all if you’re a card-carrying CAMRA member.
25 November: London Brewers’ Market
After a few months of visiting other markets, London Brewers’ Market returns to Old Spitalfields for its autumn showcase of beers from London-based brewers, from 11.30am until 6.30pm on the last Saturday of November. More than 20 independent brewers are set to feature, including new showings from Old Kent Road Brewery, Neckstamper Brewing, and Spartan Brewing.
For those looking for a break from the booze (and this is a daytime market, after all), softer drinking alternatives will be provided by Square Root Soda. As always, the market will enjoy a musical accompaniment of vinyl goodness from the Independent Label Market. Entry is free.
5-9 December: Pigs Ear Beer & Cider Festival
As regular as clockwork, East London & City CAMRA’s venerable Pigs Ear Beer & Cider Festival returns to the Round Chapel in Hackney for its 34th year. As with all CAMRA festivals, the focus will be on cask-conditioned real ales; although this year’s instalment will be raising the stakes a bit by seeking out many new or one-off brews, so the festival’s more curious drinkers will hopefully have some new beers to try.
Alongside the UK-brewed cask ales, a wide selection of beers from overseas will also feature, as well as the obligatory range of ciders. Doors open at 12pm each day, and beer is served until 10.30pm on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, or 11pm on the Friday and Saturday (or until the beer runs out). Entry costs £5 (or £3 for CAMRA members).
- For those whose interest in beer includes brewing their own, Brew Con London looks set to provide a wealth of useful resources, with talks and workshops from industry experts, and a range of exhibitors showcasing their homebrewing wares. The event takes place on Sunday 12 November in Bethnal Green’s Oval Space; tickets cost £15 in advance.
- Parson Green’s White Horse pub, long appreciated by beer lovers, will be staging its annual Old Ale Festival from 23-26 November. Expect a well-curated selection of dark (and sometimes strong) beers, including some rarities from European brewers.
- A further celebration of dark beer will be taking place at the Hope in Carshalton from 30 November - 2 December. Keep an eye on the website for more details to emerge.
- From 1-3 December, the Dog & Bell pub in Deptford will be hosting its St. Andrew’s Day Real Ale Festival, featuring more than 20 Scottish real ales, many of which (according to the organisers) have never before made their way south of the border.
If you’re a lover of beer or pubs, check out our ever-expanding database of the best pubs in London.