Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Lamb Beer and Liquor Beerfest

The Lamb Beer and Liquor on the Holloway Road, Highbury, had a London beer festival this weekend; thirteen breweries were represented, although only half a dozen beers were on cask when we turned up on Saturday afternoon. From the menu it seems most of their business is done with keg beers, and they had a bit of a problem with the temperate of the casks at the festival which they solved by passing beers up through a trapdoor from the cellar. This also involved an elaborate system of tokens (pictured below), which you could purchase from the bar and exchange for a pint. However you could also order a pint from the bar for the same price, and have it delivered from the cellar, so the function of the somewhat iconic tokens remains an utter mystery. (Perhaps they also offered indulgences?)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Fox and the Elephant: a Belgian fairytale

If you happen to be in Brussels for a family reunion and to have some of the authors of this blog as friends, then buying some Belgian beers to bring back to London sounds like the most natural thing to do.

I manage to convince a Patient Friend to come with me to a shop that, according to my city guide, has a selection of more than 400 beers. When we enter Beer Planet we soon realise that it isn’t an overstatement.

The place is bigger than I thought and the style is quite minimalist. The walls are covered (almost from the floor to the ceiling) in simple shelves loaded with beers. I must confess: I’m lost. The beers are too many and look quite different from the ales I'm used to.

Because I am trying to approach beer-tasting scientifically, I know I need a criterion. I thought that the most appealing graphic could have been a good one...

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Wandsworth Common Beer Festival, July 4-6, 2013

Wandsworth Common Beerfest is apparently not a CAMRA festival, but is co-sponsored by the London Brewers Alliance. The 100 or so beers on offer (only about half of which were still available on Saturday evening) were all from the 45 or so participating breweries in the London area—this makes everything we drank the whole weekend #LocAle, which is very cool. Held in the stylish Le Gothique Restaurant, part of the Royal Victoria Patriotic Building, a mixed residential and commercial complex kind of in the middle of nowhere, it was mostly outdoors, which was super-appropriate on this gorgeous July weekend.

The atmosphere was also somewhat different to most British beerfests—and not only because of the uncharacteristic weather—there was a markedly younger demographic than usual, and it was our impression that there was pretty even gender parity (in stark contrast to many such festivals where staff even actively make women feel uncomfortable or unwelcome). Although the beers and most people were outside in one of the gardens or courtyards, there was further food and drink available inside the bar, and live blues music from Robert Cray. I didn't try any of the food, but it seemed to be pretty basic pub or canteen fare (although the Basque-themed food van out the back was an exotic touch).