How to make the most of London Beer Week in Hackney and Islington
- Credit: Archant
Alex Bellotti explores what the week-long festival has to offer, and some of the Hackney and Islington venues taking part.
Following on from the success of London Cocktail Week last October, London Beer Week is returning to the capital for a second year to introduce experts and newcomers alike to the wonderful world of craft beer.
Taking place in over 100 bars and breweries across the city from February 22-28, the festival offers a £10 wristband providing access to self-guided beer tours, £3 speciality beers and £5 boilermakers (a beer and a shot).
The festival will primarily run from a central base at The Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, where pop-up bars will also serve up a range of ciders and tasting events.
“I think what’s good about this festival is that it caters for people who are already into their beer, but even if you know absolutely nothing about beer, you’re just going round to bars and trying new drinks that you haven’t ordered before,” says Siobhan Payne, director of London Beer Week. “It’s a really good entry gate into the world of craft beer and beer as a whole.”
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Considering the success of British companies such as Brewdog and Camden Town Brewery – which was bought in December by the world’s largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev, for an estimated £85 million – the market for craft beer is undoubtedly as broad as it’s ever been.
For Payne, the recent boom is primarily down to two factors.
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“On one side, there’s been loads of breweries popping up across London – partly because of demand, and partly because there’s a lot of camaraderie around the breweries and they’re working together more.
“But also as there are more beers on offer, people are realising that there’s something for everyone. It’s not about drinking crap lager and getting really drunk anymore, it’s more about people drinking it in the way they might drink wine.”
A number of venues in Hackney and Islington are taking part (see below), each supplying a different signature beer as part of the wristband deal.
For food lovers, Michelin-starred Outlaw’s at The Capital are teaming up with Sharp’s Brewery to provide an exclusive seafood-focused three-course menu, while Meantime Brewery are offering an in-depth exploration of beer and the brewing process.
“There’s been a boom in the more technical side of [beer], but now it’s becoming a lot more mainstream,” adds Payne. “Even your local pub is serving some amazing local craft beers. As it becomes more widespread, London Beer Week is trying to harness that excitement in a way that means anyone can get involved without feeling too intimidated.”
We’re only here for the beer: six London Beer Week pubs across Hackney and Islington
Location: 40, Commerical Street , E1 6LP
Times: Mon-Thu 11am-Midnight Fri-Sat 11am-2am Sun 11am-11pm
Serve: Big Hug Hibernation IPA – A hybrid style beer which is a cross between a wheat beer and an IPA, dry hopped with Citra.
Location: 336 Old Street, London, EC1V 9DR
Times: Mon-Fri Midday-Midnight Sat Midday-2am Sun Midday-10.30pm
Serve: Big Hug Bruno Pilsner – A classic Pilsner lager brewed in Austria with a rich taste and distinctive grassy notes.
London Cocktail Club Shoreditch
Location: Unit 12, 29 Sclater Street, London, E1 6HR
Times: Mon-Thu 5pm-Midnight, Fri-Sat 5pm-1am, Sun CLOSED
Serve: Huggalicious – A specially created hoptail made using Big Hug ale, tequila, lime juice and agave syrup.
The Three Johns
Location: 73 White Lion Street, London, N1 9PF
Times: Mon-Thu Midday-Midnight Fri-Sat Midday-1am Sun Midday-10.30pm
Serve: Anspach & Hobday v The Three Johns Gose – A specially created lip puckering and slightly salty beer by Anspach & Hobday for #LBW16.
Wenlock and Essex
Location: 18-26 Essex Road, London, N1 8LN
Times: Mon-Wed Midday-11.30pm Thu Midday-Midnight Fri-Sat Midday-2am Sun Midday-11.30pm
Serve: Rodenbach Grand Cru – A blend of young and mature oak-aged beers with a fruity taste and intensity.
Hops & Glory
Location: 382 Essex Road, London, N1 3PF
Times: Mon-Wed 4.30pm-11pm, Thu 4.30pm-Midnight, Fri 4.30pm-2am, Sat Midday-2am, Sun Midday-10.30pm
Serve: Hops & Glory Pale Ale – A hoppy pale ale with sessionable tropical fruit aromas. Upgrade to a boilermaker with Jameson Irish Whiskey.
For the full lineup, visit londonbeerweek.com/events