The London Beer Fest
Our beloved beer festivals are back! Do you remember beer fests? Where beer geeks don their favourite brewery t-shirt to drink craft beer from tiny glasses in parking lots under the hot burning sun… it’s the best time! I was exceptionally excited for the inaugural London Beer Fest in downtown London. It wasn’t just that I hadn’t been to a beer fest in over two years, but that my friend Tim was organizing the event and had dialed up the hype machine. His excitement for the event had really radiated and I couldn’t wait to stack up those sample glasses and spread the word.
London Ontario is no stranger to beer festivals. In past years the city has hosted the Beer and BBQ show, Forest City Beer festival and the Tacos and Beer fest just to name a few... and I rocked them all. Disclaimer: by "rocking" I don't mean musically but rather standing around, sipping stouts and bad mouthing Molson Coors. The London Beer Fest was held downtown at the Covent Garden market, was free to enter and featured 20+ local craft breweries, live music and a great selection of food vendors. There was no way anyone was going home thirsty, hungry or behind the wheel. Check out this quick festival walk around video taken before consuming 20 small glasses of happiness:
I invited my friend Jay to come with me, I met Jay through Instagram where we became fast friends due to our mutual love of punk rock and imperial stouts. Give his beerstagram account @jehdrinksbeer a follow. Being that we both live outside of London, we had to decide which one of us would be the DD. Every once and a while you make a really solid life decision, like getting the extra McDonald's hashbrown or bottomless mimosas (apparently good decisions are only made at breakfast). Neither of us were capable of the incredible will powered required of a DD and appropriately ordered an Uber from Komoka to downtown. I tell ya, 20 minutes after walking through those gates and quickly 6 samples deep, we declared the Uber as the best decision ever.
Admission to this festival was free! Drink ticket prices were reasonable at $2.50 each with 1 ticket getting you a 4oz pour and 3 tickets for a full 12oz pour. Jay bought a few too many tickets and I was happy to allow him to be my ticket daddy as the afternoon rolled on, thanks Jay! All the brewery tents were setup surrounding a covered seating area. London Brewing and Backroad Brews, Shoes and Hops farm teamed up to offer the Backroads lounge. Since I wore my Backroads Hops hat I was given exclusive privileges to the lounge along with everyone else. You can read our blog post on Backroads Brews, Shoes and Hops farm here. Use the > to move through the fest pic gallery below.
As I was standing beside the 4est Brewery booth, a future blog fan complimented me on my Hop Happy shirt and asked how I liked the 4est Helles lager. As I was explaining the delicate balance of the bready malts and the lightly grassy hop notes.....she quickly cut me off to inquire “ok wow…but does it have alcohol?” The best part of the day wasn’t just the delicious beer, it was seeing all of our brewery friends. It was so much fun sharing our day with festival organizer Tim, Rusty Wrench's Chris and Kirby, Curley's Nigel and Denny and Sarah from Red Barn, just to name a few.
Our Favourite Festival Beers
Jay and I have contrasting tastes in beer, we both love IPAs and stouts but we differentiate when it comes to sours and lagers. We sampled beer from almost all of the breweries and here are the beers that we both agreed were stand outs: London Brewing Cucumber Mint Sour – I am typically not a sour drinker whereas Jay is and we both agreed that this sour was exceptional. It’s difficult to capture the flavour of cucumber, I mean what does a cucumber really taste like? In this sour you could easily identify the cucumber and the mint with neither being overpowering. It was lightly sour and immensely refreshing. Read our London Brewing blog post here. Charlotteville Nitro Choco Cherry Porter – Dark chocolate and cherry on nitro! Decadent and delicious but surprisingly light . Charlotteville brewery is a beautiful place, check it out here. Rusty Wrench Torque Wrench Mango Jalapeno Pale Ale – Light bodied and crisp. Cracker like malts, dry jalapeno matched with light mango sweetness and just a bit of residual heat. You gotta give this beer a try! Check out our blog post here! 4est Helles Lager – A delicious lager that has become a staple in my fridge. I will allow Jay to describe his thoughts on this helles “not being a lager guy, I’d drink that damn beer any day of the week” Curley Brewing West World IPA – In a sea of hazy IPAs I seek refuge in the style I love the most. A smooth and easy drinking introduction to West Coast IPAs for any fledging beer nerd. West side 4 life.
If you attended the Fest, tell me in the comments which brew was your favourite!
Jay and I had an absolute blast at this year’s London Beer Fest and would have loved to stay longer or just camped out there to keep the kegs safe. I hope that the London Beer Fest becomes a yearly happening and judging by the turnout I think it will be. Stay positive and drink good beer