Craft Beer Rising 2016, Where can I start? Other than wow! It was amazing to see so many people with such passion and excitement, and that was just the members of public! The brewers themselves and even the staff just showed unreal amounts of passion, interest and genuine excitement for their own ranges.
I could not believe the size of the event at The Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. After queuing up down and around the side of the building, expecting a long wait, the staff at the venue got the queue moving quickly and before we knew it we were in! We collected our glass and programme, then up the stairs we went to what could only be described to any beer lover as… heaven!
The smell of hops, beer and fresh cooked food filled the air along with the noise of hundreds of people talking and laughing. For as far as the eye could see there were lines and lines of mini market stalls with beer taps, signs and merchandise!
Walking around you are literally spoilt for choice, unsure where to start I walked around in a daze at first. First port of call was Point Brewery that stopped us for a chat. Me being a beer drinker, I’m easily satisfied with a cold refreshing hoppy beer, but my friend who was accompanying me does not like beer and one of the staff at Point Brewery made it their mission to find a beer he liked. After many attempts with different beers, success was found in a German-style wheat beer, with coriander and cloves on the tongue.
The festival itself is so large and compact that between the stands its very hard to finish your drink before you get to the next one, may not sound like a hardship to yourself, but when the beer in your glass is so damn good, you don’t want to rush it and not enjoy it. Luckily a lot of the individual brewers have little tasting cups, just enough to wet the tongue and take on board what you need to and of course buy a bottle or can to take away!
The biggest shock for me, something that I was not really that interested in but its the only thing my friend will drink is, the cider section, “Lost In Cider Space”. It was brilliant, so many different varieties including ones infused with herbs, hops and different fruits. The section was not as packed as the beer part so this then gave you great opportunity to talk to the brewers in-depth. I do not dislike cider but its not my preferred choice of drink, mainly because it does not sit right with the acidity levels but also because I don’t see many dry different ciders other than a Strongbow. I find cider too sweet for my taste, but the ciders I tasted once explaining I liked dry ciders, I loved!
From Hogan’s amazing hopped cider to Italian craft cider, ideal for the cider drinker who want to explore what is actually out there other than the usual Strongbow, Magners and Bulmers.
All in all, this festival is definitely the best thing I have ever been to. I will be revisiting next year except here are a couple of pointers that I am going to take on board next year and it may help you out.
Depending where your travelling from, if its a distance like it was for us (Staffordshire), its definitely worth finding a cheap hotel somewhere. It is a very long day with lots of walking and that is always at the back of your mind when you’re walking around. We were up at 6am, by 5pm, the constant walking around meant we were pretty shattered. So my advice is find a reasonably priced hotel. Don’t forget that in London, it’s is so easy to get around via tube, bus or cab that you can stay just about anywhere in or around London to save money. I guarantee you will be thankful you did!
There is a lot of merchandise available and thousands of take away options. Right from growlers, cans, bottles and mini kegs! You may not think this is a problem, but once you purchase a good hoard like I did, the bags get heavy!
Then you check your watch and you still have 4 hours of walking around, how many beers are you going to see in those 4 hours? What stopped me buying any more is the sheer weight of what I had already brought. We joked, why not take a small suitcase with wheels?? But after our walk back to the tube station and train station and taking it in turns to carry the bags, it would have been well worth it!
Those are just a couple of little hints and tips I have. Craft Beer Rising will be back next year. I’d highly recommend grabbing yourself a ticket and immersing yourself in the world of craft beer.