London Craft Beer Festival 2014 Review
On Sunday some friends and I decided to travel down to Oval Space in Hackney for London Craft Beer Festival. As I mentioned in my preview blog, it’s a festival whereby all of the beer is included in admission price as well as the breweries serving their own beer (or at least someone who knows about beer. Probably).
We got to the venue and collected our glass, bottle caps (third pint tokens) and program before heading up to the room of doom.
It was a small but comfortable venue with a decked area where food was, as well as a balcony area overlooking the old gas terminals. There were breweries all around the room and a stage in the middle for the performers.
Across the road there was also another venue that they were using to promote holidays in Flanders. We sampled some delicious cheese and whitebait.
I would have liked to see some more reasonably priced food. There was a stand selling hot dogs in burger baps for £6.50 which seemed like a rip off, and the other option was onglet steak with veggies for £8. They did also have chips for £2, which were nice enough but the portions weren’t nearly big enough.
Along with Alec, Jay & Lee whom I travelled with, I bumped into some of my awesome beery twitter fam, Some of whom I’d never met before.
As for the brewers themselves... I don’t know whether it was because they were tired from a long weekend but the vast majority of them didn’t seem interested in talking to us normal people, aside from serving their beers. Too many times I’d ordered a beer and want to talk to brewers about them but before I got the chance they’d already turned their back to talk to the brewer next to them. It kind of defeats the point of this kind of festival set up.
I had a lot of beers, well it would have been rude not to since it was included in the ticket price. I’m not going to tell you about all of them but stand outs included:
Redemption Pale Ale w/ Mangos & Pink Peppercorns (3.8%) – You got the hoppiness of the pale ale, the sweet and juicy mango with a shower of spicy peppercorns. It was absolutely outstanding!
Weird Beard Little Things That Kill (A low ABV. Each batch changes) – I drank more of this beer than anything else. It’s a beer I already love and I just stood at the Weird Beard stand (the most friendly stand manned by Bryan & Chris) talking to Chris and constantly getting my glass topped up. So much fruitiness and body for such a low ABV beer.
Buxton Ace Edge (6.8%) – It’s a beer I’ve wanted to try for ages as I love the original Axe Edge and I am one of the rare people who LOVE Sorachi Ace Hops. I am so glad this was on (I may have had multiple drinks of this too).
Magic Rock Bourbon Barrel Bearded Lady (11%) – BIG chocolate and coffee followed by the oaky bourbon booziness. So fucking good.
My beer of the festival, though, was Alpha State Vanilla Mocha Shake (10%) – Jesus fuck! This was absolutely incredible... a coffee and chocolate filled mocha with a sprinkling of vanilla at the end. It really was like a silky smooth milkshake and I could have actually drank multiple pints. WANT MORE NOW.
It was a great festival, with a really cool concept. I like not having to worry about spending money once I go in, but they could have ditched the whole token system entirely since I don’t think I even saw the brewery stands take one. They didn’t take any from me, simply asked “Big pour or small pour?” I also think some of the brewers could have been more engaging and excited about talking about their beer. Maybe it was better during one of the previous sessions.
But it was a good experience and I reckon I will return next year!