Words: Marion Rankine
If you’ve ever been to a music festival and longed for something a little more inspiring to quaff than the standard offerings of Fosters, Carlsberg and co, the London Craft Beer Festival is for you.
Born of a shared love of great music, brilliant beer and top nosh, the festival is celebrating its fifth year in a brand new location, with a stellar lineup of artists, breweries and pop-up kitchens.
From August 4-6 2017, the striking Shoreditch Electric Light Station – usually home to the National Centre for Circus Arts – will be temporary lodgings to more than 45 breweries, showcasing over 300 unique craft beers. FLUX was treated to a preview of three of their innovative drops, and the selection did not disappoint.
Look out for Lervig’s Simcoe IPA – a fruity bitter blast of grapefruit, mango, peach and caramelised orange – and Gypsy Hill’s incredible Ramblers double IPA, made with 20% oats for ultimate smoothness (‘Who needs honey porridge when you can drink this IPA?’ asks my partner in beer-tasting, admirably unconcerned with the prospect of swapping breakfast for beer). Or the elusive yet delectable Lervig/Hoppin’ Frog colab Sippin’ Into Darkness – a rich strong brew that tastes like an espresso martini curling around a chocolate fountain inside a rum barrel – or Patrón masquerading as stout, which is more or less the same thing.
To keep growling bellies happy, the Craft Beer Festival will also be hosting pop-up versions of some of London’s most exciting eateries, all conspiring to produce one-off beer-inspired menus just for the occasion. Pizza phenomenons Radio Alice will be in attendance with their signature sourdough crusts (thick yet pillowy-light and perfectly crisp), as will crowd favourites Morito (famous purveyors of tapas and mezze) and Berber & Q with their bright and zingy Mediterranean grill-and-smoke combos.
Fresh, punchy Indian flavours will be provided by Gunpowder, or if you’re more in the mood for steak and chips, L’Onglet will have you covered. Or for proper beery comfort food, Big Apple Hot Dog will be touting their 100% British, American-style wares. And if you’re unsure what beer to pair your food with, never fear – there will be tasting notes, and no shortage of experts on hand for recommendations.
Finally, a treat for the ears: each session will feature a cast of resident DJs as well as a headline set by one of four top British acts: nerdcore staples Hot Chip (Friday evening), decks legend Norman Jay (Saturday day), indie rockers Foals (Saturday evening) and upbeat indietronica group Metronomy (Sunday day). So you’ll never have to wish the music was as good as your beer (or vice versa) ever again – or at least for a weekend.