Craft Beer Rising Festival

Great news for thirsty Londoners. Every February, you can sample hundreds of beers from dozens of breweries at one location.

Okay, so it might be physically impossible (and certainly inadvisable) to try ALL of those beers, but the Craft Beer Rising Festival at the Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch offers the opportunity to wobble among a wide variety of stalls serving up lip-smacking suds from as far away as Mexico and as close as London itself.

This is your brain on beer.

If someone says “bottoms up,” and you don’t know whether to bend at the elbow or the waist, you’ve probably had enough.

You can also groove to DJ-spun tunes, nosh on street food like incendiary-sounding chorizo bombs, smoked BBQ and schnitzel, and check out the latest industry innovations.

Here’s a taste of some of my favourite brews from years past.

YEASTIE BOYS http://www.yeastieboys.co.nz

Yeastie Boys_1107

Stu McKinlay of Yeastie Boys Brewery in Wellington, New Zealand taps into your darkest desires with his inky Pot Kettle Black South Pacific Porter. McKinlay’s Earl Grey-flavoured Gunnamatta Tea Leaf IPA, which won Champion Beer at the Great Australasian Beer Spectacular, might just convert me to a tea drinker, too. (Personally, I’d even give him an award for the brewery’s name alone.)

HIVER http://www.hiverbeers.com

A great way to welcome your honey home…with a Honey Beer from London-based Hiver, which sources real urban and rural honey and uses an organic specialty malt to create an all-British unpasteurised beer.Hiver Honey Beer

In addition to the original blonde beer (5%), Hiver has also just launched a new Honey Brown Ale. At 4.5%, it packs in plenty of flavour without the sting of higher ABV brews.

If you need further proof that these brewers are the bees’ knees, how about this? Hiver donates 10% of its profits to pollinator charities.

In the immortal words of Jonathan Edwards, “We gonna lay around the shanty, mama, and put a good ‘buzz’ on.”

HOGS BACK http://www.hogsback.co.uk

Hogs Back_1122 (1)

Beer and chocolate, two of my favourite things, all conveniently packaged in one bottle of Surrey-based Hogs Back Montezuma’s Chocolate Lager. (Let’s hope he doesn’t seek his revenge with a hangover).

HOP STUFF http://www.hopstuffbrewery.com

The people have spoken, and the people want beer. Founded in 2013 thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign, Hop Stuff is based in Royal Arsenal, Woolwich.

Hop Stuff_1089

Their selection of beers pays homage to the brewery’s location, with offerings like Fusilier and Gunners Porter.

DAY OF THE DEAD http://www.dayofthedeadbeer.com

Day of the Dead brews from Mexico. Collect all six!

Day of the Dead brews from Mexico. Collect all six! You know they’ll look great on your windowsill.

BEAVERTOWN http://www.beavertownbrewery.co.uk

So…skulls seem to be a trend. (Should we be concerned?)

Beavertown Bloody 'Ell Blood Orange_1119

Bloody ‘ell, indeed.

Nah. I mean, Beavertown’s Bloody ‘Ell Blood Orange special IPA practically counts as a fruit, right? Personally, I plan to consider it one of my “five a day”–although at 7.2% ABV, I’m not sure I can handle more than one.

Other offerings from this London-based brewery include the gently lubricating Neck Oil Session IPA (4.3%), Heavy Water Imperial Stout with Sea Salt & Cherries (sure to have you sailing three sheets to the wind at 9%), and one that pairs perfectly with burgers and BBQ, the Smog Rocket Smoked Porter (5.4%).

BAD SEED http://badseedbrewery.com

Winters can be pretty harsh in Malton, North Yorkshire, home of Bad Seed Brewery. So it’s important that you don’t miss out on that most important meal of the day: breakfast.

Of course, nothing beats a hearty bowl of oatmeal. Thanks to Bad Seed’s Oatmeal Stout, you can sample it in liquid form.

Bad Seed Brewery oatmeal stout_1096

Bad Seed Brewery Oatmeal Stout

If that doesn’t get you going, Bad Seed also sells bottles of Espresso Stout (6.5 %) on-line.

Mornings will never be the same. (Just don’t plan on operating any heavy machinery for the rest of the day).

HONEST BREW http://honestbrew.co.uk

Honest Brew_1113

Honest Brew will deliver a selection of truth serum right to your door. Try their own Straight Up Amber Ale, “Toffier than Fox-Hunting.”

COOL GADGETS

CARBOTEK http://carbotek.uk.com

Beer in a box? You betcha. Semi-sparkling wine and cider, too, thanks to Carbotek. This eco-friendly system de-carbonates beverages, stores the fluid in recyclable cardboard boxes, then dispenses it as desired through a draft system which, hey presto, re-carbonates it again.

Carbotek dispensers work with semi-sparkling wine, beer and cider.

Carbotek dispensers work with semi-sparkling wine, beer and cider.

One of the main benefits is shelf life. Whereas an average keg of beer might stay fresh for three days, boxes of brew can keep for three weeks. For smaller pubs and restaurants wishing to offer more variety, or which simply don’t sell huge quantities at a time, that’s a big bonus.

A flat draft beer (left) versus a Carbotek beer (right).

A flat draft beer (left) versus a Carbotek beer (right).

BLITZ DRINK SYSTEMS http://www.blitzdrinksystems.com

Want a draft beer to go? Blitz Drink Systems is demonstrating a growler system, retailing for £1,190, which dispenses up to four beers on tap and accommodates containers ranging from 500 ML to party-sized 3 liter bottles.

Cheers, m’dears!

Hiver Honey Beer

Hiver Honey Beer

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