It has been 2 weeks since the London Craft Beer Festival and as a close watcher of the festival last year I was disappointed to have missed out but I was, away with Laura on our epic summer adventure in Sardina. Not one to miss out, I knew being its 5th year that the 2017 LCBF would be bigger and better than ever. I couldn’t resist grabbing a weekender pass when the opportunity came around.
As a fan of craft beer for the past 2 years, I’ve commented in the past how difficult it can be to get access to some top notch breweries locally. Even though the likes of Beer52 have helped and local retailers such as Love Wine taking note of up and coming breweries, it can still be hard to socialise and enjoy these beers with others. The closest I’ve come was the awesome beer and food pairing hosted by JB’s way back in March last year with BrewDog which myself and Laura thoroughly enjoyed.
With Laura not being a beer drinker, it was very hard for me to convince her to join me for the weekend, however… the tempting allure of another weekend stay at The Hoxton won her over. And the small but well-rounded selection of food stalls within the beer festival helped too and of course, the promise of potentially finding beers she would enjoy!
What is LCBF?
London Craft Beer Festival is ultimately a celebration of all things craft beer, from around the globe. With 45+ breweries in attendance and 300+ beers to try from, 6 top notch food vendors and to top it all off 4 decent DJ sets from the likes of Hot Chip and Foals.
We started planning at the end of last year way ahead of time and this was a god send, we had no issues acquiring tickets for the festival, hotels or decent flight prices from the island. We choose to stay at The Hoxton once more for pure convenience, it was only a 5-minute walk away from Shoreditch Electric Light Station and couldn’t fault it. The opening day of the festival is Friday afternoon finishing Sunday with 2 sessions per day and one final one on Sunday. I opted for a weekender ticket and Laura grabbed Fri/Sat evening sessions. In hindsight, I probably should have done the same as the evening sessions were much livelier and enjoyable. The breweries in attendance also rotate some beers between sessions but honestly, you’re not missing out on much.
The electric light station was a great venue choice for the festival which included a large courtyard area with outdoor seating and the food stalls. The breweries were divided up between two large rooms; combustion and generating chambers. For the purists, there was even a cask yard with some excellent selections with support from Fuller’s. And if that’s not enough and you truly hate beer, a decent selection of ciders and wine and cheese tasting was also on offer.
The evening sessions had a fantastic vibe to them. It was great to talk first hand with some of the breweries and the people behind them whilst sampling their freshest brews. We even got lucky and managed to sit down and meet other enthusiasts and talk beers, life and travels. The food selections on offer also kept us sober soaking up our alcohol fueled bellies and the general set up of the festival was well thought out. Our two biggest complaints, however, have to be the lack of toilets and the turning off the music at half 10, two big no no’s. The toilet issue we could understand as this might be due to a lack of space. but it really did leave quite a few people disgruntled. The DJ’s being turned off at half 10 probably had something to do with the licence for the event but again a huge buzz kill when you’re having a great time thinking there is still half an hour worth of music to carry on with.
I would highly recommend attending one of the evening sessions for next year’s festival if you are in London. Despite her lack of original enthusiasm, Laura really enjoyed her self too which proves it’s not all about the beer. She even found a couple she really liked!