This year micro-brews, crafted in ELL boroughs, could be making an appearance at your office shindig, as an alternative to sucking on some punch or cheap lager before spending an explicit five minutes with the Xerox machine.
At the Pig’s Ear Beer and Cider Festival, organised by the Campaign for Real Ale, which opened this week at the Round Chapel in Clapton, over 200 beers are available for fans of a pint. Hidden amongst these offerings from around the world are ales from nine new local micro-breweries.
According to Bill Green from CamRA there is a simple reason for the growing popularity of micro-brewed beers.
He said: “There has been an explosion. East London Brewery now sells nationally. The ‘Hackney hipsters’ have created a market.
“There are 1,100 breweries in this country. If you had asked me 20 years ago I would never have believed it. It is all part of the ecology and environment, and people wanting products that are good and environmental. Young people want authenticity, providence and quality.”
But which delicious ale should you buy to impress your colleagues at the office bash? We slaved over a barrel to give you our top four beers from the festival.
ELL’s top four festival picks
4) Howling Hops’ US Pale Ale, Hackney
One of the beers to sell out quickest, this fruity number has hints of pineapple, but has a lasting, bitter grip.
3) London Fields’ Black Frost Stout, Hackney
An impossibly dark stout with a hint of spice and an aroma of chocolate. This is a limited edition festive number that would go well poured over your Christmas pud.
2) London Fields’ Shoreditch Triangle, Hackney
This full-bodied IPA has a hint of sweetness and the right amount of bitter notes. It is made with a complex mix of hops and malts, but has warmth. I am out on a limb here, but this is oddly reminiscent of fresh bread and butter.
1) Crate Brewery’s Best, Croydon
This dark but mellow bitter has a soft back note of pale caramel, which, regrettably, does not linger. You find yourself at the bottom of the pint trying to figure out what the tasty stuff in it is.
For more about local breweries, click here to read about the brand new Truman’s brewery, set to open this spring in Hackney Wick.