August went down in a jiffy. Like a swift, gloriously satisfying cold beer after an uncomfortably sweaty walk on a summer day.
Like many of my fellow beer bloggers and enthusiasts, it was a hectic month with tastings, trips, tours and festivals to fit in and similarly, we all seemed determined to make the most of all the incredible opportunities to taste some great beer and mingle with like-minded individuals… or just drink as much beer as possible!
What I managed to squeeze into just over 2 hectic weeks:
- Pete Brown Music and Beer Pairing
- James Watt (Founder of Brewdog) beer tasting
- Great British Beer Festival
- London Beer Factory Tour and Tasting – by Indie Ales
- Beer and Brewery Tour of East London – given by Indie Ales
- Dress Down Thursday – Bar Takeover of Paper Dress Vintage by Indie Ales
I’m still not convinced of the decision to launch London Beer City in the same week as the Great British Beer Festival AND the London Craft Beer Festival but I can say it was a great occasion and a privilege to be involved. The variety of events on offer all around London was a fantastic tribute to our beer scene which now must be considered one of the most exciting and influential in Europe. Events were staged for all levels of interests and experience was from educational tasting sessions, to historical walking tours to the more traditional real ale events and the more hip and progressive.
I do love the GBBF. I’m a big fan of real ale and love trying all the beers from smaller breweries around the country. I spoke to a few people who were disappointed by the quality of some of the beer this year but this wasn’t obvious to me. What really annoyed me was even by 7pm on the first day, many of the award winning or recognisable beers had gone, including 90% of all the cask ale over from the US. I’m not sure if they were holding some back for visitors later in the week?
The busy schedule meant I had to bypass something this August, which was unfortunately the London Craft Beer Festival. The feedback seems to have been hugely positive with the organisers stepping up the food offer, demonstrating beer’s awesome capacity to be paired with gourmet food and by all accounts the brewers really upped their game as well with fruit infused and barrel aged beers. These demonstrate the real leaps and bounds the beer scene is undertaking with experimentation and collaboration… pushing the boundaries of what we perceive as ‘beer’. Gutted to miss these!
I read an interesting article from a food blog (http://www.greatbritishchefs.com/community/london-craft-beer-fest-review) highlighting the rightful appreciation of beer as an alternative to wine which I completely agree with:
‘People are almost looking and talking about beer like they do wine, looking at colour, smell, texture, everything. And the fact is, they want to know the story behind the beer. With the ever-increasing access to information, people want to know what goes into their food and drink, they are aware of what goes into the average can of lager and they are not prepared to put that in their bodies anymore.’
All these events can only help heighten the appreciation of your average beer drinker which means growing the market to encourage the great breweries we have in this country to brew even more outstanding beer. All this fun and games is also bringing great beer to more people. That why I initially started Indie Ales; to inspire and help people discover fantastic beer, so it’s great to see. To steal a line from Chris Hall ‘ If you think London’s ‘beer ego’ is already so big it can be seen from space, then I’ve got bad news for you. We’re only just getting started’.