London Beer City 2016 opening party: A great start to a beery week

August is a great month for beer-related events and although I’ve not been to it before, London Beer City is now in its third year. Far from being a lone affair, it consists of numerous events across the capital over a 10 day period. I went to the opening party and here’s what went down.

Even a few weeks ago I hadn’t heard of London Beer City but I was aware via Twitter, thanks to Matthew Curtis of Total Ales, in enough time to bag some tickets. Just £5 each which included the first drink (2/3 of a pint). Not bad if you ask me so my wife and I decided to go for it.

The fairly long trek from Luton to Hackney on a sweltering day wasn’t ideal but well worth the effort once we got there. The sun was shining at Five Point’s warehouse yard which was kitted out with plenty of benches, wooden pallets and even a decking area. It looked great with the railway arches, bunting, lights and some great tunes playing from vinyl (great job DJing, whoever you were).

As well as the entry ticket, there was the opportunity to attend some tasting sessions by three breweries: Five Points itself plus Beavertown and Fourpure. By the time I got tickets for the event Beavertown’s was already full but I managed to bag slots for the other two which were totally free!

London Beer City Five Points tasting

By the time we arrived it wasn’t long until the Five Points tasting so we pretty much went straight to that after having a quick wander to check out what beers were on offer (I’ll come to that later). The session, charmingly led by Doreen, cleverly consisted of a trio of beers not available out in the yard. Bravely starting with a 9% barley wine which was surprisingly easy to drink, we also tried the Railway Porter and the excellent Smoke House.

Back out to the yard and we queued at one of the bars to try and get some Peacherman by Beavertown but alas, it wasn’t pouring just yet so I went for a nice thirst quenching pint of You’re Twisting My Melon Man by London Brewing Co – great for the hot weather and boy did it taste of melon.

It wasn’t long before the Fourpure tasting session which included the Bermondsey brewery’s Flat Iron Red (my favourite beer of the day), the Skyliner wheat, West Coast IPA (which has one of my favourite can designs ever) and the newly launched Juice Box, a Citra IPA made with a shed load of orange zest. A great time was had by all, largely due to Paul’s excellent hosting skills.

Once more we headed back out into the sun and managed to get some Peacherman which actually wasn’t as good as I’d hoped but I think I’d hyped it up too much. We also tried some other beers including Fuller’s Montana Red Rye and Life on Mars by Hammerton. There were plenty more beers which we would have liked to try including the London Beer City Summer Pale which is a collaboration between Five Points, Beavertown, Fuller’s and Fourpure. An impressive 16 local breweries were represented at the opening party across 40 casks and kegs.

Normally I’m a bit tight when it comes to buying food at events like beer festivals but there was no resisting the temptation of Nonna’s Gelato made with three different Five Points beers. There was chocolate ripple with the Railway porter, lemon with IPA and one with pine nut brittle infused with Hooky Red. All of which were amazing but the chocolate ripple was the one with the most apparent flavor of the beer within – who knew pine nut brittle was so great.

We left after having a great time and while many of the London Beer City is all but over, check out everything which is happening here and look out for next year.

Also check out: Meantime’s Pilot Series and Cloudwater’s DIPA.

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