The London Drinker Beer Festival: a London institution

In Uncategorized on March 5, 2016 by kmflett

The London Drinker Beer Festival: a London institution


The 32nd London Drinker beer festival took place at the Camden Centre, Kings Cross this week.

The venue itself is a London institution. It hosted rallies for the 1984/5 miners strike for example.

London Drinker is the oldest London beerfest and you might say it is showing its age a little.

The task of organising the event, and putting on the food, is considerable and don’t expect any glitches. There are people here with a lifetime of knowledge about how to organise and run beer festivals.

I haven’t been at quite every-one but nearly all of them. I’ve shared a beer there with my late parents, with lovers, partners, political allies and union colleagues down the years (not all at the same time obviously).

I stopped by on Wednesday afternoon with Megan to check out the 2016 offering.

As is often the case at such events at lunchtimes the crowd (and it was packed) was getting on a bit in most cases and I don’t think I spotted even one hipster. I am not exactly young myself of course. Inevitably a union member approached me to discuss… pensions.

In a sense then London Drinker has become almost as much a re-union as a cutting edge beer event.

The London bar reflected the huge boom in London breweries in recent times, although most of the beers on offer (not all) were at the more pedestrian end of those breweries offerings. Partly the beer has got to be sold in a couple of days so it’s important to have good ‘drinking ‘ beers, but partly I suspect many of those breweries one-off brews and the like are keg only.

Why London Drinker doesn’t yet have a keg bar is of course an important question. Numbers of CAMRA festivals do.

The foreign beer bar in the side room has also to some extent been overtaken by events. Once this was perhaps the only place you were likely to see some of the European beers available in bottle and certainly on draught. That isn’t really the case anymore but a glass of Schlenkerla rauch beer (draught, gravity) was nonetheless very welcome.

Overall London Drinker is now a London institution. If you haven’t been you must go. If you have and seek the farther shores of beer experiences, there are plenty of bars nearby where you might, with luck, experience that too.





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