Saturday 24th September

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Ready, Steady, Drink! The Great British Craft Beer Challenge Festival

| Festivals | 08/08/2013

Beer festival

England has a long beer drinking tradition that dates back centuries, so what better way to celebrate the summer then with a nice cold beer. In Hackney London fields, sits the relatively secluded London Fields Brewery and today we are here to attend my first beer festival. I am eager to try the large selection of beer and local street food.  After me and my guest were given our pint glasses and food cards – the joys of being part of the press, we were ready to venture in and start the beer tasting.

The Beer

Today Great Britain and Europe are going head to head, with the aim of finding the best beer. My patriotic spirit swayed me to choose a British beer first and that was Magic Rock Carnival .  After my first sip the feelings of summer had disappeared, as my mouth was filled with the bitter after taste of the beer.  On my second sip there was a slight sweet tone, but that was soon over run with a sharp bitterness. At 4.3% this ale may be mild to an experienced beer drinker, but beginners should beware!

My second beer was recommended by a friendly bar tender, who had extensive beer knowledge and advised me on a smoother beer. This was the Hops studio Pilsner which is also part of team Great Britain. Light in colour, a lot smoother with lemon undertones. I had no trouble finishing this one and would recommend this beer to beginners and those who prefer a smoother, crisper taste.

My winning beer

My winning beer is Floris Framboise from Belgium

I began to notice that a lot of people were drinking a berry coloured beer, with a light white forth. I gave this description at the bar and found out this beer was Floris Framboise. This beer tasted just like a fruity cider with a lingering after taste of raspberry. Each sip was slightly different, as if I was eating a sherbet sweet. As many people were drinking this, could it mean that the British public where shunning stronger British beers in favour of a sweeter, fruitier taste?

If you have forgotten, this a a beer challenge between Great Britain and Europe, so who won? This was hard to gauge as the public voted with shouts and whistles. This of course, varied between the three rooms but in my room British beer came out on top.

The Atmosphere/Setting

The sun shone bright on the revellers and the air was a mixture of beer, music, and sizzling street food. There was a true festival vibe without the rain or mud. The live band played renditions of Amy Winehouse, while a brave few took to the dance floor and shuffled to the music. The crowd was a vibrant  mix of trendy fashionista  types and small families. This festival was about more then beer, but a chance to socialise and chill out. There were three main areas to choose from, with two main seating areas. The interior was filled with earthy, rustic furniture. Each piece was different from the next giving the rooms a laid back homely feel. My favourite room can be best described as a beer bottle out house. The plastic roof allowed the sunshine to penetrate through, giving the feeling of sitting out doors. Overall a relaxing atmosphere that got busier as the day progressed.


The Food  

The first thing I tried was a duck burger, which was served with earl grey chutney and Brie. Although my burger was well done it was juicy and succulent. It had a meaty texture but lacked flavour in terms of salt and other spices. However the taste was a perfect blend between burger and Chinese spring roll which was interesting. The earl grey chutney was tasty but I found the Brie over powering. Over all an interesting take on the conventional burger.

The next thing I ate was a Beefy Taco Rice, which consisted of mince, rice, salad and the traditional Mexican Guacamole and Salsa. This Japanese and Mexican fusion was bursting with flavours, with the strongest one being spice. The pepper was very hot, causing me to sweat. The sweetness of the salsa and cooling salad did take the edge off, but the pepper remained well after I had finished the Taco Rice. This is an interesting combination of flavours but not for the faint hearted.

Food at beer festival

If you like the sound of this festival you can still get involved. The grand finale is on the 7th and 8th of September and will be Great Britain vs the rest of the world. Which beer will win? Only you can decide.

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