It’s a busy month for beer festivals in London. We’ve rounded up the most notable opportunities for fermented excellence.
10-11 July: Brew Summertime
Craft Beer Rising, no stranger to hyperbole, is confident in describing its Brew Summertime festival as “the biggest outdoor craft beer and street food festival in the UK”. Who are we to argue with a claim like that? Either way, the stats look impressive: 36 brewers (although we count 32 beer and cider makers on the current confirmed list) and capacity for 4000 drinkers in the Hyde Park venue does certainly suggest a very large scale.
As you’d expect with an event like this, the boozy offerings are augmented by a generous handful of street food vendors, and musical entertainment is provided across both days. The festival runs from 4pm to 10pm each day (with drinks service ending at 9.30pm); a ticket for each day costs £6.90 (including booking fee).
10-13 July: Ealing Beer Festival
The stalwart perennial Ealing Beer Festival returns to Walpole Park, celebrating its 30th instalment from 10-13 July. Once again the organisers have published an extensive catalogue of the hundreds of real ales, beers from overseas, ciders and perries, and wines and meads served up across the festival’s four days. Soak up the beer with solid food options including curries, doner kebabs, toasties, pies, Cajun and Creole cuisine, fish fingers, cheeses, and barbecued meat.
Entry to each day costs £5 (or £3 for CAMRA members), plus a £3 refundable glass deposit. Advance tickets are sold in a package that includes the entry fee, the glass deposit, and a £10 beer card.
12-13 July: Cuddington Beer Festival
This year’s Cuddington Beer Festival focuses on local Surrey-based brewers, with the festival’s beer list naming 20 of them (and almost 50 individual beers). A couple of dozen ciders from producers around the country are also promised, alongside barbecued food sourced from local butchers (as well as vegetarian food and snacks).
As usual, the festivities take place in a Scout hall near Worcester Park. Entry to each four-hour session costs £6, or you can buy a £20 ‘queue buster’ ticket in advance that provides entry plus more than £15 worth of beer tokens. Advance booking is strongly recommended, as previous years’ festivals have sold out, with no tickets available on the door.
19-21 July: Epping Ongar Railway Real Ale Festival
The heady combination of good beer and old trains makes a trip outside the M25 to the Epping Ongar Railway Real Ale Festival worthwhile. This year’s event is the biggest yet, promising something in the region of 80 beers and 20 ciders, served from a marquee at North Weald station, as well as bars on the two trains that will be running on this heritage line.
Some of the beer choices have been inspired by the railway’s venerable locomotives, including ales brewed in Newcastle, Manchester, and East Anglia, to commemorate the working lives of a couple of the resident steam and diesel engines.
A £14 ticket (or £13 for CAMRA members) gives you access to one day of the festival, including unlimited travel on the steam and diesel trains running on the private railway. Alternatively, this year’s festival sees the introduction of a £25 ‘bumper’ ticket, which includes one day’s entry, a festival glass, and £9 of beer tokens. Various shuttle buses ferry festival-goers to and from Epping, Shenfield, and Harlow; see the festival’s website for full details.
20 July: Club Soda Mindful Drinking Festival
July looks like a potentially boozy month for some of us, so a laid-back Saturday afternoon enjoying many of the attractions of a beer festival, but without the alcoholic effects, could be welcome. Enter Club Soda, a group dedicated to enjoying good drinks without the need for intoxication, and the summer edition of the Mindful Drinking Festival. Alongside various cocktails and ‘soft’ drinks, the festival serves a variety of beers with less than 0.5% ABV from brewers such as Big Drop, Braxzz, Adnams, Drop Bear, Krombacher, Lucky Saint, and Nirvana.
The festival runs from 11am until 5pm in Spitalfields Market; entry is free.
25-27 July: Beckenham Beer Festival
This year’s instalment of the Beckenham Beer Festival aims to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landings. Aside from the amusing design of the festival’s poster (including the mirthful slogan “One small beer for man, One giant beer for mankind”), we’re not entirely sure how the festival intends to adopt this theme. But it doesn’t really matter; the main attraction is the 65 beers (probably predominantly real ales, as this is a CAMRA festival), as well as the obligatory ciders and perries.
The event takes place at Beckenham Rugby Club, with entry for each day (from 12pm to 11pm, or until the beer runs out) costing just £3 (or nothing at all for CAMRA members).
- The occasional (and latterly rather nomadic) Beer By The River festival pops up in Wandsworth’s Ram Quarter on the afternoon and early evening of 13 July. Expect beers from organiser Sambrooks, plus various others. Tickets cost £10 in advance, or £15 on the door.
- City Beerfest returns to Guildhall Yard on 18 July, serving up beer from 16 breweries from 12pm to 9pm. Entry is free, but you can save time by purchasing beer tokens in advance. All profits go to charities championed by the Lord Mayor’s Appeal.
- Evidently keen to get in on some of the craft booze festival action, Hawkes Cider has organised Ciderama, billed as London’s “first ever international craft cider festival”. The event is split into three five-hour sessions on 19 and 20 July, and promises a generous selection of ciders from around the world, an exclusive festival glass, live DJs, and your first pint in exchange for a £15.60 advance ticket.
- Swanley’s Cotton Mill micropub hosts its annual Beer Bash from 27-28 July. Expect a good range of cask beer, gin, music, and food.
If you’re a lover of beer or pubs, check out our ever-expanding database of the best pubs in London.