You may have noticed that something has been happening across London over the last few years.
The reemergence of plaid shirts? Jeans so tight that circulation to the lower extremities has been compromised? Items that you’ve seen in skips in one part of London being sold as ‘vintage’ in other parts of the city at ridiculously high prices? All of these things have happened, but amidst all these fads craft beer has been consistently increasing its market share and not just amongst beardy men.
Having worked in a traditional ‘old man’s’ pub pulling pints of real ale whilst a student, it was easy to see why most people associated the CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) representatives as the equivalent of anoraks. To ensure I was getting a clear picture of how things have changed, I decided to attend the Great British Beer Festival organised by CAMRA and as a comparison the London Craft Beer Festival, at the Oval Space Bethnal Green, an idea born by two friends in collaboration with Brewers.
Real Ale to me is the traditional old style beer found on the pumps in a pub. Craft beer is modern style beer, made by smaller breweries who are more adventurous with flavours.
I’ve been to the GBBF in the past and it was ok, but that was all. I felt out of place and on the wrong side of 50 to enjoy it. This year for the first time there were more young couples, women and the ‘old man’s’ pub vibe was not as prevalent.
I volunteered for the London Craft Beer Festival and was stunned at the how much fun everyone had. It wasn’t just a beer tasting, it was a festival with live music, great food, an awesome selection of craft beer and basically the most amount of fun I’ve had at any festival in a long time. I spoke to one of the co-founders Greg Wells and his passion for good craft beer has now established a fun festival for all those people who aren’t sure if and what type of craft beer they like. I didn’t know what to expect but I know I’ll be attending in August again.
So what if you want to impress your boyfriend, husband, partner, boss, in-laws this Christmas? Bottles of wine are just ‘yawn’ boring. Having done some substantial research, tasting, travelling and drinking specifically for this blog *coughcoughwink’ I can direct you on where to go to get your hands on some superb craft ales within reach, get advice on what you might like and also learn about craft ale.
There was a time when you could go into a record shop (yes, those round vinyl items from the past) when you could talk to the people who worked there and they would recommend a new album and it would be an awesome experience to discover new music that you didn’t know existed.
The We Brought Beer shops in Balham and more recently in Clapham Junction have reintroduced this experience, but with beer. If you’re in Dulwich, like vinyl, chilli sauce and beer why not pop in Hop Burns and Black and have one of their delicious sausage rolls.
I’ve learnt from first hand experience that craft beer can be paired to pies (mypie) and even marshmallows (nuggetandmallow)
Craft beer is more accessible, cheaper than wine, delicious and as I’ve been assured by several male friends, ‘a great gift to receive as beer is the gift that keeps on giving’.
It’s not just about drinking, it’s also about meeting the Brewers and learning about their thoughts, processes and ideas something that you can regularly do at either We Brought Beer shop by signing up to their mailing list.
If you’re in South London and want to buy an awesome secret Santa gift, something nice to go with dinner or just expand your knowledge of craft beer, why not pop in? They have several beers on tap that you can taste and get a growler (1-2 litres) filled to take home.
Now that Christmas is around the corner I’m happy to report that I am working my way through my beer advent calendar that I purchased from We Brought Beer a couple of weeks ago, for further ‘research’ purposes. #YesZebraTakesOneForTheTeam