Over the 22nd and 23rd of Feb, Brick Lane’s old Truman Brewery became home to a new beer festival, Craft Beer Rising. It brought together breweries big and small: the very established (Youngs, Sharps and Fullers, through theirCraft Beer pub The Union Tavern); the newly established (Brewdog and Meantime); and the upstarts, Brewers and Union, Two Cocks and Rebel Brewery, as well as many more.
I enjoyed Union Pub’s competition wheel (a £1 spin won me a 1999 bottle of Fuller’s Vintage Ale; Friend of the Mule Steph won a 2006 bottle). I had much fun with the app ‘Hit Me Up’ with which, by tweeting certain photos or singing songs, you could get yourself a free half pint- it saved me quite a few pennies – for instance I sung “I’ve got a brand new combine harvester” for a free half from St Austell. There were also talks, live music and quite a few street food venues, but I ate none of them and missed the music and talks.
There is a big advantage of having the brewers themselves pour their beer for you instead of volunteers as at the Great British Beer Festival. I experienced this at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver last year, the ability to have a coversation with the brewer or brewery employee about their beers can increase the satisfaction ten fold.
In Summary, my beer highs and beer lows,
Nelson Sauvin Saison by Meantime – the Saison comeback has begun! After enjoying a pint of Saison Du Pont at Hops & Glory a few weeks ago I have begun to notice a few more Saison’s popping up. This summer expect a lot of London micro breweries to have a Saison on offer. Meantime’s is a good start using the distinct Nelson Sauvin hop.
Feallan by Thornbridge – a beer that I had wanted to try for ages and was worth the wait. However, when I went back for another the tap was already dry.
St Austell’s Admiral’s Ale – another beer that I had been meaning to try for a while – it’s a really full bodied ESB which packs a flavoursome punch. I will go out of my way to buy more of this beer in the future.
Sharp’s Hayle Bay Honey IPA – far too sweet and a bit sickly. If you need honey in your beer go for a St Peter’s Honey Porter instead.
Meantime’s Raspberry Wheat – the taste did not sit well with me. Meatime shouldn’t try to compete with rubbish such as Fruli. This was rather disappointing, but has been the only Meantime beer I have not enjoyed so far.
Overall I welcome Craft Beer Rising to the festival circuit and hope it kicks the GBBF up the backside before August.