Whether you’re all about the New England IPA haze or you’re that weirdo who likes chugging back an imperial stout in the 28°C London sun, there’s a brew for you at London Craft Beer Festival this August.
Taking over Tobacco Dock in Wapping from 3-5 August, London Craft Beer Festival brings together more than 60 of the world’s best craft brewers, as well as top-class food from some of London’s hottest restaurants.
Tickets start at £39.50 per session (buy them here) and include unlimited 100ml pours of hundreds of great beers, from Dutch-brewed sour pale ales (check out Oedipus Brewing) to punchy triple IPAs from right here in London (we're looking at you, Gipsy Hill). Also included in ticket price is a glass, the official festival magazine and access to the festival’s food pop-ups and DJ sets? Blimey, that cash just went a long way.
With so much to see, you’re going to need a plan, but don’t worry, because we’ve made one for you. Here are five ways to make the most of London’s most gloriously hoppy weekender.
Try these brewers
If you’re here, you’re probably into beer. And this year’s festival is not about to disappoint you. There’ll be more than 60 of the best brewers from around the globe in residence at Tobacco Dock for the weekend, and let’s be honest, they’re all pretty bloody good. Here goes:
From London, there’ll be Pressure Drop, Partizan, Five Points, Mondo, Brew By Numbers, The Kernel, Brick Brewery and more, but this weekender really comes into its own with the brewers from further afield. UK scene stalwarts include Verdant, Cloudwater, Moor, Northern Monk, Magic Rock, Wylam and Buxton, and the festival also invites four rising stars of the UK craft brewing scene to have a stand for the weekend, so be sure to swing by Boxcar, Unity Brew Co, West X Three and Burnt Mill for a brewski (or two-ski).
Looking outside the UK, Europe is well represented by the likes of Mikkeler, Lervig, To Øl, Garage and Dugges, while some brewers have made the journey all the way from Australia and the US just for the weekend: yep, we’re looking at you Kaiju, Stillwater and KCBC.
Feels like we’ve been banging on about brewers for a while, now, doesn’t it? Well that’s only about a third of the breweries that’ll be in attendance, so if anything, you’ll just wish the festival went on a bit longer.
Head to The Vaults
As if 60+ world-class brewers in the same building wasn’t already enough, the vaults at Tobacco Dock will be converted into a special area celebrating small-batch beers and barrel-aged brewing projects for the weekend.
First, check out free-spirited Norwegian brewery Lervig, who’ve collaborated with the festival to brew the official London Craft Beer Festival Pale Ale. The beer – called Going Nowhere – is an easy-to-sink hazy pale with a nice bit of kick. They’ll also have a load of barrel-aged one-offs to try as the weekend goes on. The same goes for UK craft beer legends Wild Beer Co and Thornbridge, who’ll both be sharing rarities, collaborations and more.
From across the pond, there’ll be scene stalwarts Sierra Nevada, as well as the UK launch of Ontario, Canada-based brewery Collective Arts, who openly invite emerging artists to submit designs for each of their new small-batch brews, and run the best on each can (check out their insta above). Pretty. Damn. Cool.
Get your groove on
If you’re anything like us, at some point during the weekend you’ll have had just enough beer to fancy throwing shapes on the dancefloor. Well, lucky you: yes, London Craft Beer Festival does have a dance floor and no, they probably don’t take requests.
That being said, with DJ sets from Two Door Cinema Club, Hercules & Love Affair, Huey Morgan, Toddla T and Trojan Sound System, we think you’re going to be just fine. As long you keep your stout away from anyone wearing white, that is.
Check out the pop-up kitchens
Great craft beer is good and all, but London Craft Beer Festival is about way more than just, er, beer. The food lineup is pretty banging, too, and it’s the perfect place to get your chops around grub from some of London’s finest restaurant without booking a table and dropping top dollar.
This year, there’ll be epic pasta from fabled Italian restaurant Luca, wood-smoked meat and that Mangalitza pork from Pitt Cue, Sri Lankan street food from Hoppers and root-to-fruit veggie grub from our columnist Tom Hunt. Steak and hot dogs, meanwhile will be brought to you by L’Onglet and Big Apple Hot Dog. Not bad for a beer festival, eh?
Grab yourself some goodies
It’s not just about the beers you drink on the day, you know. At this year’s London Craft Beer Festival, you’ll be able to slide away with a nice bag of goodies, too. From the glossy mag and official festival glass you get as part of your ticket price to the dozens of brews on sale at the festival’s official bottle shops, the Brew Merchants Store, there’s plenty to pop in your bag for later on.
Head to Brew Merchants Store for festival-only exclusives and US bottles you won’t find anywhere else in the UK, but drink 'em fresh, because hops fade fast. Oh, and the latest issue of Foodism will be knocking around, too, so make sure you snag one, stat.
For more information and to book tickets, head to londoncraftbeerfestival.co.uk