London Drinker Beer & Cider Fest
Camden Centre
Bidborough Street


Disappointing. Very disappointing.

The Thursday afternoon session is free entry. Consequently, I expected the place to be almost empty when I arrived a few minutes after opening. But it wasn’t which was good to see. But if it is busy, why not charge? I guess once upon a time there used to be an entrance fee but nobody came so they made it free in and the masses descended.

I purchased a half pint glass for £2.50 (an extra 25p would’ve got me a pint glass but only complete maniacs drink pints at beer festivals) and then scanned the room. The venue was quietly impressive looking – sort of like a cross between an old school hall and a court room. The majority of the people present looked as though they were over seventy. I only saw one person who I thought was younger than me. I suppose the only people who can easily go to a beer festival on a Thursday afternoon are people who don’t work, which is why, I assume, the average age was so high.

Before attending the festival I’d viewed the beer list online. It wasn’t great but there were options that made it worth a visit. The first beer I went for was Summer Wine’s Diablo, which is usually a joyous riot of hops. Sadly, it was in very poor condition. I then opted for a Clarkshaws Gorgon’s Alive. It took several minutes for my half to trickle out of the cask. Several CAMRA members held it up to light and nodded sagely. It had passed the clarity test so therefore it was obviously okay to drink. Ummm… no. I’d never had the beer before so wasn’t sure what it was meant to taste like but I’m pretty certain it isn’t meant to taste flat, dull and vaguely of vinegar. I wandered into the foreign beer bar (housed in a separate hall) and every one of the old dudes in there stopped talking and turned towards me. Most bizarre. The young guy behind the bar looked a bit lost and in need of company but I decided not to put him out of his misery. I returned to the main bar and ordered a Redwillow Wreckless. Third Time lucky? Nope. Another beer in atrocious condition. I was defeated. I had no desire to try anything else. Every beer festival I’ve been to I’ve always kept hold of my glass. It’s a little souvenir. And it seems a bit cheap to return it and ask for the money back. Not this time. I was so pissed off with the quality of my three beers that I demanded the return of my two and a half quid. But I felt a bit guilty so I stuck a quid of it in a charity pot.

To the Euston Tap…