Once again on the Pigs Ear Beer Festival
Once again I found myself at the opening day of the Pigs Ear Beer Festival (the 33rd) organised by the East London and City branch of CAMRA.
I’ve been going since the days it was in Bethnal Green Town Hall (in October) and the world has moved on a good deal since then.
The current venue the historic Round Chapel in Clapton- in effect central Hackney-is certainly atmospheric and it has ample seating in upstairs galleries.
Of course it being a beer festival it is about the beer and as in recent years the Pigs Ear is on or around the zeitgeist not just for CAMRA festivals but for beer festivals in general.
After doing some limited UK keykeg dispense several years back, this is now kept to European beers and the entire UK beer selection is on cask. In quite a few cases this means that the keen drinker can try cask versions of beers that normally only appear on keg. Pressure Drop Bosko for example or Anspach and Hobday Scotch Ale. For me (& I suspect others) a real stand out was Chorlton’s 2016 version of their imperial gose Dark Matter. Other favourites included beers from Redemption and Weird Beard- their South Pacific collab was in particularly good condition I thought.
Of course beer requires food and as well as the regular cheese and chocolate stands there is also Capish who are to be found at Mason & Co in Hackney Wick. Their Porchetta roll was (for meat eaters obviously) possibly amongst the best beer festival food ever.
In recent times the Pigs Ear has also been notable for a somewhat broader range of drinkers than may sometimes be seen at such events. I was pleased to meet an old acquaintance the Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville and his partner who had launched the event. There were of course a good number of old blokes like me, but also a diverse younger cohort of drinkers (some with beards) and rather more female beer lovers than might sometimes be seen at such events.
In short I suppose you could say that the Pigs Ear mirrors to a significant extent the community in which it takes place.
None of this happens without the hard work of CAMRA volunteers and assistance of helpful local brewers and its worth remembering that. Such events just don’t ‘happen’, they have to be organised.
All that said the Pigs Ear runs until Saturday and if you’ve never been, or not been for a while you are in for a treat.