Great British Beer Festival
Hammersmith Road
W14 8UX


Everybody knows what the Great British Beer Festival is. Everybody has an opinion on the Great British Beer Festival – some of those opinions are favourable and some of those opinions are not so favourable. My viewpoint is simple: Feel free to dis it but you’d be daft to miss it.

There’s no real point giving you a blow by blow account of my GBBF 2014 experience but suffice to say – as I arrived before one and remained until the bars closed at seven – I had a lovely day.

For the sake of historical accuracy here are the beers I consumed:

Collaboration – Hogs Back & Elusive
North Wall – Hop Kettle
Roaring Meg – Springhead
Sublime Chaos – Anarchy [best UK beer I had]
Bananatana – De 3 Horne
Hemel & Aarde (Octomore BA) – De Molen [best beer I had]
TIPA – Emelisse
Vintage Ale 2014 – Fullers
Prince of Denmark – Harveys
Lekker Bakkie Kobi – Uiltje
Den Dorstige Tijger – Ramses
Brettanosaurus Rex – Oersoep
McEwan’s IPA – Wells
Kastel Triple – Van Honsebrouck
Kastel Rougue – Van Honsebrouck
Morpheus Undressed Foederbier – Alvinne
Rauchbier Kräusen – Schlenkerla
Sublime Chaos – Anarchy [so good I had it twice]
Shire Stout – Ramses
Hemel & Aarde (Octomore BA) – De Molen [so good I had it twice]


Craft Beer Rising
Old Truman Brewery
19 Brick Lane
E1 6QL


Craft Beer Rising launched in 2013. Even before it had opened its doors to the paying public the word on the street was that it was nothing more than a corporate wank fest. By the time it had gently shepherded out the last of its drunken punters that word on the street was that it was nothing more than a corporate wank fest but it was also whatever you chose to make of it. In due course the 2014 edition was announced and I initially had no plans to go. But then I was informed that the Saturday sessions were taking place on the same Saturday as a gig by The Coal Porters. A beer festival followed by a gig? Count me in. Over the coming weeks the brewery list began to emerge. It was certainly more than decent enough but not exactly epoch slaying. There were several great breweries on the last but hardly anybody that you’d struggle to find if you went searching within the confines of the M25. But, hey, a beer festival is whatever you choose to make of it.

I had a great time. Caught up some old acquaintances. Made some new ones. Chatted face to face with some folk who I’d previously only chatted to on Twitter. Bumped into quite a few people who I know from the excellent Bristol beer scene. And, perhaps most importantly, I got drunk on super tasty beer.

The Old Truman Brewery is a great space. The festival occupied several rooms of varying shapes and sizes – like a giant beer lined rabbit warren. Some the areas were way more cramped than others but even in those spaces the traffic was flowing reasonably smoothly and swiftly and you rarely had to wait for more than a few seconds to get a beer. Some criticism has been levelled at the amount of branding at the event but I liked the fact that each brewery had their own little stall and it was easy to see exactly who they were before getting too close as it made it easy to avoid having to make the embarrassing choice of walking away emptied handed or buying a beer you didn’t really want. Oh, the queue for the gents wasn’t anything to be overly concerned about, which is always a bonus. The people manning the bars and food stands were all friendly and helpful. And the stewards and security staff were numerous and easy to spot but certainly not obtrusive. All in all it was a job well done.

Anyway, for those interested, here are the beers I consumed:

Attaboy by Truman’s – 4.6%
Sour Saxon (Cell Rebirth) by The Celt Experience – 4%
Ola Dubh 18 by Harviestoun – 8%
Original by Thistly Cross Cider – 7.2%
Fifth Element by Beavertown – 7.3%
All Day IPA by Founders – 4.7%
Discovery by Renaissance – 4.5%
IPA by Lagunitas – 6.2%
Re Hop by Toccalmatto – 5%
Delirium Tremens by Huyghe – 7.5%
Black IPA by Brighton Bier – 7%
Sour Saxon (Cell Rebirth) by The Celt Experience – 4%
In The Pines by Wiper & True – 5.3%
Independence by Bristol Beer Factory – 4.6%
Imperial Raspberry Stout by Thornbridge & St Eriks – 10%

I suppose the simple fact that the only beer I had more than once was the Sour Saxon strongly suggests that it was my beer of the festival. It arguably was but it should be noted that I didn’t have a bad beer all day, which is something I’ve never managed to say after a session at the Great British Beer Festival.

If Craft Beer Rising returns in 2015 I will return to Craft Beer Rising.