REVIEW: London Craft Beer Festival 2015
Friday 14th August 2015
9.59 Skinny jeans and a plain white tee. I’m roasting in these bloody jeans. Ten years ago they were all baggy boyfriend style and t-shirts were pasted in street art inspired graphic designs. Ten years ago I was just discovering the world of beer and the brew in my glass was most likely Tangle Foot or Hobgoblin. Oh, how times have changed, as I sit here waiting for my train, anticipating the amped up, flavoursome beers on offer at this years London Craft Beer Festival, now in its third year. It’s a testament really to just how far the UK beer scene has come, that we can celebrate such a broad selection of artisans within brewing and the vast range of quality beers they produce. Although right now I’m wishing I hadn’t worn these stupidly tight jeans.
10:18 On the train. Realisation has hit that I missed breakfast. Bugger.
10:27 Blueberry muffin, win.
…I wonder if any of the brews will feature the blueberry.
11:23 Made it to London; the bubble, the melting pot, the stage.
12:10 No tokens to faff about with this year, more food stalls and across the road there’s The Pickle Factory to explore. But for now I’m in the main hall, starting with the familiar Arise by Burning Sky. Sussex represent!
12:19 Lervig Bret Dog. A fuck ton of oranges and bloody magnificent. Tart and prickly and beautiful.
12:30 A quick catch up with Justin and Sarah and a drop of Half Mast from Siren, 2.8% but full on flavour.
Is it really a year since the last festival? It doesn’t seem like that long ago since I was exploring the Oval space and yet so much has happened in that time, both personally and within the beer scene. Nothing quite like pairing a good beer with quiet reflection.
12:41 And the sun comes out! The smell of beef bbq fills the air, people are starting to mingle and it’s all coming together; that good vibe that I associate with this festival is coming into play; this is what it’s all about; good food, great beer and friendly folk that are genuinely excited about what this fest is showcasing.
12:58 Got a brew in my brew. Earl Phantom. All the yes. Aromatic. Beavertown; this fest wouldn’t be the same without this outfit.
13:07 Howling hops pale. Residual hop content floating about but easily overlooked when the beer is as lip smackingly good as this.
Charcuteurie boards are back! Paired beautifully with Halcyon last year. Howling pale is doing the job nicely this time around. Decked area outside promoting a very relaxed vibe.
Indoors got stuffy. Blocking that second door off at the far end for a few hot dogs to get set up has really knackered the ventilation to the main hall.
13:27 Edge brewing Juggernaut, over 9%, sublime bruiser of a beer. Note: must check out the rest of the range.
Its Matt, The Half Pint Gent!
13:55 Elvis is in the building…zingy.
14:05 BLUEBERRY BEER, WIN! Omnipollo, 90000. Making me all kinds of happy with its smooth blueberry and pecan decadence.
14:10 Back for more. That blueberry hit is sublime.
The Pickle Factory is rocking some almighty brews. And ribs.
15:48 Beer from the side of a London cab. It’s not black. Summer pale from London beer factory= gooood.
And there lies the end of my note taking on the day. Probably for the better really, on many levels, and in the end though there was just too much good stuff going on to spend time typing. LCBF has, in three short years, become a highlight on the beer events calendar. It’s a combination of the right venue, the setup, the brewers and the beers, the right food to compliment those brews, and the fact that you simply don’t get a bad beer here.
Ten years ago I couldn’t have imagined that I’d ever be at a festival in London drinking beers such as a Blueberry/Pecan/Almond/Vanilla Smoothie IPA, Marshmallow & Vanilla Bean Imperial Stout, Cucumber Saison or Earl Grey Sour. Times have changed for the better, the London Craft Beer Festival is one hell of a showcase for this and I really hope that’ll still be the case in the next ten years.