Enjoy dry January, did you? Excellent, now stop bragging about your abstinence on Facebook and start rekindling your love affair with delicious, delicious booze.
A fine place to start is Craft Beer Rising – a mammoth festival dedicated to hop-heavy IPAs, decadent stouts and everything in between. It’s taking place February 26–27 at the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, and tickets cost £20 – not bad considering the wealth of free samples and discounted pints that lay within. Intrigued? Here are six very good reasons why CBR16 is not to be missed.
It’s not all about beer
Can’t stand the idea of listening to people with beards banging on about ‘mouth-feel’ all weekend? A strong musical showing means you don’t have to, and the line-up of bands and DJs is enough to make some actual music festivals blush. Friday night is headlined by Mo’Wax main man James Lavelle, and on Saturday there’ll be sets from BBC 6Music’s Don Letts, Prince Fatty & MC Horseman and, bringing things to a climax, Bestival creator and legendary decksmith Rob da Bank.
There’s love for cider fans, too
Prefer apples to hops? This year sees CBR introduce a dedicated cider zone, where scores of orchard-dwelling geniuses will be setting out to prove there’s more to the drink than teenage sessions in the park. There’ll also be plenty of mead (a beer-like drink made with honey instead of malted barley), beer-infused rum and whisky from Don Papa and Auchentoshan. So you basically needn’t touch a drop of beer at all, although that’d be a crying shame because…
The beer selection is absolutely off the hook
Over 150 brewers will be bringing more than 600 beers and ciders to CBR16. The cream of London’s brewing scene (Beavertown, Camden Town, Gipsy Hill) will be in attendance, along with giants of the US scene (Founders, Goose Island, Sierra Nevada), some of whom are bringing along one-off brews for the event. If you’ve sunk enough pale ale for a lifetime, don’t worry – there’ll be everything from trappist honey beers to wheat-based sours with which to broaden your boozy horizons.
You’ll be well fed, as well as watered
Only the daftest of fools would approach a selection of 600-odd beers on an empty stomach, so it’s just as well that the tastiest names in street food are coming along for the ride. Confirmed traders include schnitzel specialists Fleisch Mob, Jamaican chicken kings Mama's Jerk and Prairie Fire BBQ, who'll be laying on the perfect smoky, meaty accompaniments to all those suds.
And if you’re not just concerned with getting lashed, you might just learn something
For those keen to get geeky about grog, CBR also boasts a strong programme of talks from some of the craft brewing scene’s biggest names. Beer journos Pete Brown and Melissa Cole will be among those heading up panel debates, while the Thirsty Gardeners will be explaining why it’s high time you started cooking with beer. Assuming you can bear to pour the stuff anywhere other than down your neck, of course.
CBR16 takes place February 26–27 at Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane. Buy tickets here.