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.
7-9 November: Watford Beer Festival
As regular as clockwork, Watford Beer Festival returns to the West Herts Sports club for its 25th annual instalment. The formula is familiar: more than 80 beers, ciders, and perries from local, and not-so-local brewers; take a look at the provisional list for a detailed indication of what to expect.
Hot and cold food is available for a few hours during lunchtimes and evenings, and additional entertainment is provided by a presentation of the ‘Hertfordshire Beer of the Year’ award on Friday evening, and a ‘pub’ quiz on Saturday evening.
Doors open at 4pm on Thursday, or 11am on Friday and Saturday, and the festivities last until 11pm each day. Entry costs a mere £2.50, or nothing at all if you’re a member of CAMRA or the sports club.
3-7 December: Pig’s Ear Beer Festival
December is usually devoid of beer festivals in London, with the notable exception of the Pig’s Ear early in the month, which typically rounds off the year’s beer festival calendar rather emphatically. Returning to the magnificent Round Chapel in Hackney, this venerable CAMRA festival offers more than 200 cask ales (including a number of one-off specials and collaborations), beers from overseas, ciders, and perries. Beer-soaking food takes the form of cheese-based and pie-based sustenance, including some vegan options.
Doors open at 12pm each day, and beer is served until 10.30pm on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and until 11pm on the Friday and Saturday. Entry costs £5 (or £3 for CAMRA members) for each of the Tuesday-Friday sessions, or a discounted rate of £2 (£1 for CAMRA members) for entry on Saturday. NUS members, NHS, police, or fire service workers receive a free pint if they show photo ID on the door.
- The Hope in Carshalton conducts one of its semi-regular beer festivals from 28-30 November, themed around dark beers. As usual details are a bit sparse until nearer the date, so keep an eye on the festival's holding page for more information to emerge.
- More dark beers are likely to feature at the 37th instalment of the Old Ale Festival at the White Horse on Parson’s Green from 28 November-1 December. Expect a formidable selection of old, dark, and strong beers from keg and cask.
- From 29 November-1 December the Dog & Bell, a classic old boozer in Deptford, hosts a Scottish-themed beer festival to celebrate St Andrew’s Day, featuring more than 20 Scottish real ales, many of which (according to the organisers) have never before made their way south of the border, alongside Scottish-themed food and music and, we assume, the odd flash of tartan.
If you’re a lover of beer or pubs, check out our ever-expanding database of the best pubs in London.