From 21st to 23rd February 2019, the UK’s largest and most comprehensive craft beer festival is back at Truman Brewery on London’s iconic Brick Lane, East London. This year’s CBR boasts more beer, food and DJs than ever before. In all there will be 178 stands and 155 of the finest breweries in the game at this world famous and annual gathering. It is a place to whet your whistle with the world’s best breweries newest brews. For that reason, CBR is the UK’s biggest and best loved craft ale festival with more than 12,000 visitors expected in 2019.
This year has two trade sessions and four consumer sessions, 10 cider and 8 snack producers plus the much anticipated Fox’s Den, a brand new space where food, brewery and spirit partners come together offering a great way to spend the afternoon and evening tasting the finest treats in the sector. A new Beer Hall layout also ensures that getting around and getting served has never been easier, and new seating areas offer you a place to sit down and let everything soak in, including the beer!
Next to the beer offerings, there are a series of special speakers all set to share their expertise in a programme headed up by cider expert Gabe Cook. Topics will include ethics and equality in brewing, food and beer pairing and emerging trends and markets. All of this ensures that this is set to be the biggest and best Craft Beer Rising Festival to date.
Yeastie Boys: Hot Space / 3.2% / Extra Pale Ale
North End: Saison du Nectar / 5% / Mango & Peach Saison
North End: La Mure / 5% / Blackberry Sour Farmhouse Ale
North End: La Mure Extra / 6.8% / Double Blackberry Sour Farmhouse Ale
Craftwork: Scotch Bonnet / 8% / NZ Whiskey Barrel Aged Belgian Scotch Ale
Panhead: Hairtail Henry / 8% / American Oakes Stout
Hailing from Oakham and then relocated to Peterborough, Oakham Ales have been brewing traditional-style cask and bottle-conditioned ales since 2006. They’ve been working hard, and picking up awards along the way. Now, they’re bringing a Craftwork series of heavily-hopped American-style ales to create a cracking new taste and get in on the craft beer action. Let’s do the intros: Best Friend, the Session IPA, with an in-house favourite mix of Simcoe and Cascade; Thrill Seeker, an unashamedly New World Pale packed with South Pacific varieties of Nelson Sauvin, Vic Secret, Enigma and Pacific Jade; and Alpha Inception, a West Coast IPA with an all-American line-up of Columbus, Simcoe, Citra, Amarillo and Centennial. We were more than happy to take a closer look:
Best Friend (Session IPA, 4.2%)
Appearance: Pale, straw yellow. A lively off-white head that leaves plenty of residue on the glass.
Aroma: Bright and tropical. Lemon zest, pineapple and guava play off each other nicely to give a sweet nose.
Flavour: This beer tastes fresh off the line, crisp and clean. A medley of refreshing citrus and juicy tropical flavours, with a bold bitter, dry finish.
A well-made beer to remind you of the summertime, drinking in the sunshine with your best friend.
Not a bad little line-up here from Oakham Ales. These beers certainly pack a punch, they haven’t gone easy on their hops, but for those who like their bitter bombs, these are a choice Friday night haul.
As 2018 closes, it is the rise of the microbrews that has defined the growth of craft beer over the last few years. It’s been an epic year for beer, even the rolling giants of the brewing industry have taken note of the changes afoot and made a few well-placed acquisitions to bring craft beer to more and more people. But it’s becoming the case that every city, town and hamlet has got its own start-up brewery, those local heroes, and even more homebrewers still working away in their attic or garage.
This is where uKeg comes in; A Kickstarter campaign by Portland-based GrowlerWerks back in 2014, it has now become a happy reality. Pressurised, portable growlers, which help you support your local brewery that is yet to sell their beer in bottles or cans, or even take home some of that get-it-before-it’s-gone specialty brew on the taps at your local watering hole. You get two weeks of freshness out of this bad boy, it’s hella stylish and, even if you don’t have your own brewing set-up, this bit of kit shows you mean business when it comes to your beer.
UKEG - YouTube
Available in different sizes and metal finishes, this double-walled, vacuum insulated miniaturised keg is designed to fit neatly in your fridge, ready to drink at home, or take with you wherever the party’s at. It has a variable CO2 regulator, to keep all your different styles of beer at optimal carbonation level, a built-in tap dispenser and sight-glass to see when you’re down to your last pint.
The prices vary, depending on the model, but you’d be doing the environment a solid, saving on all that beer packaging, and you’ll look ahead of the game with this gear.
This is definitely a worthy investment in your beer-drinking future. We got our hands on one of these uKegs, watch the video here to see us try it out, and find out more about getting your own here!
So I’ll set the scene; It’s 2016, and the opening night of Birmingham Brewing Company’s taproom in Stirchley. It’s lashing it down outside, but the place is rammed. Myself and the wife got chatting to another couple, Sam and George, and continued to to chat throughout the night. Much later on, when the night started to blur slightly, one thing that I remember as clear as day is Sam uttering six words and, to be honest, I’ve heard them many a time before, “I want to start a brewery.” I have a default mode when someone says this to me: I smile, nod and think back to last time I was cleaning casks outside in the snow… But, nonetheless, I continued to humour this chap as he had a real passion for the industry, which I love.
Fast-forward two years; I’m heading out, this time with our Editor, Helen, who hadn’t been acquainted with Birmingham Brewing Company. But tonight is a different night for the folks of Birmingham… Why? Because a brand new brewery is launching on what has now been dubbed “The Stirchley Beer Mile”. We enter the huge space of Attic Brewing Co. filled to the brim with people, plush second-hand sofas and local food vendor, Full of Chaat, in the corner. I rock up to the bar and I hear one of the brewers say, “Alright, Tim”…. Crap, it’s Sam!
Perhaps this experience has made me think twice; perhaps I was a bit of a pessimist to begin with, but the realisation that it was Sam was bloody fantastic! So I popped back the next week to chat with Sam and Oli to find out what I’d missed since that fateful night and get the FULL story, perhaps in a slightly more sober state…
“I started home-brewing when we were at university in Cardiff back in 2011. I was fed up of the s****y lager that we were drinking and thought, ‘I can brew something better than this.’ So I started brewing in the attic of my student house.” Said Sam, with his wellies and rubber gloves on, ready to reluctantly clean their least favoured tank, named Burther. “When I returned from uni [in 2013], I built my first brewery with my grandad out of plastic buckets, kitted out with different elements, bits and bobs.”
“I was only partially involved at uni.” Said Oli, nursing a glass of their Session IPA, which is now their biggest seller. “I would visit Sam at meetups, and see his fridge with converted tap and think, ‘man that’s so cool!’ I never really considered doing something remotely similar. I was working in London in advertising and went to a uni meetup with Sam, and he asked me if I wanted to start a brewery with him. Once you’ve been asked that question, you can’t say no to an opportunity like that.”
“The biggest challenge has been that we’re both not particularly practical, so the DIY was tough, but we got help from friends and Family to build the bar, benches and other bits. The help we’ve received is unreal; we got our kegs from Velvet Owl Brewery, friends, families and customers have donated sofas, and local brewers have helped us out massively too, especially Paul from Birmingham Brewing Company, Donny from Dig Brew and Alex from Green Duck.”
“Another big challenge is the cleaning. Don’t get me wrong, we love what we do, but it’s a real ball ache.” Sam continued, as he took off his rubber gloves and made his way over to the bar to pour himself a well-earned pint!
“We wanted to start with the taproom and have a more community feel to the brewery. The response has been mostly really positive, with loads of people coming up to the bar and saying that they’re really enjoying the beer, which is fantastic.” Oli said, with a cheeky grin on his face. “At the moment, we’re selling as much as we can make, people have been coming back for the same drink so want to keep them happy, but, at the same time, we also want to do some interesting beers that we want to drink and we think that people want the same. The Pepper Saison has gone down surprisingly well!”
“It only took us 2 months to get this ready and we’re really shocked as to how well things have gone, so we’re looking forward to 2019!” Sam added.
The guys have big plans for next year, which includes growing from a 5-barrel brewery to a 9-barrel. They also want to get their beers into pubs and bars locally, eventually looking at canning. The lads also gave me a cheeky taste of their Chocolate Milk Stout, which will be out soon. So head down, grab a pint at the taproom and say hello to these guys! Fri 4–10pm, Sat 1–10pm.
First Bristol, then Cardiff, now Kongs has opened up shop in the UK’s Second City, Birmingham. Kongs has built its’ own brand of venues that match local and independent brews with classic arcade gaming machines, and they do it with plenty of style. It all started four years ago with owners, Toby and Max, combining their passions of retro gaming and craft beer. We had a chat to them both and got to take a peek at what to expect with their new digs.
“Did you guys see it when it was Chameleon?” We were supposed to be asking the questions, but Max couldn’t keep his amusement to himself, “it used to have diamante wallpaper and all the pillars were mirrored.” The space certainly has been transformed into a modern, industrial wonderland. “I’m big into my Berlin brutalism.”, chimes in Toby. “When we come to a building, I ask what can I rip off. So, we took it all down, and then we were left with these lovely concrete structural pillars. The space is fantastic, we really lucked out on it!” And it’s versatile, too. With an airy, chilled-out gaming lounge and eatery vibe in the day; the place takes on a whole different atmosphere at night when the blinds go down and the sound system kicks in, with live DJs every Friday and Saturday ‘til late.
They have a wide range of individual machines, including the quintessential Street Fighter II, four-player Mutant Ninja Turtles, Golden Axe, and four-player Pac-Man, which is the first machine of its kind in the UK over from America. Final Fight is Toby’s go to of the arcade games, and Deya’s Steady Rollin’ Man (one of the bar’s mainstays) is his current choice off the taps – perhaps the first beer and videogame matching, and it sounds like a good combo to us. There are other great beers on offer here, including Beavertown’s Gamma Ray and Kongs very own Silverback APA collaboration with Lervig as permanent placeholders, alongside six rotating guest taps. Also make sure to take a look in the fridge, for a selection of beers from here to New Zealand.
These guys love to work with local and independent breweries, “Obviously we bought a few brews from Bristol, like Wiper and True but […] in Bristol the beer scene is really established, whereas in Birmingham it feels like it’s in the early stages, but the beer is great.” And it’s not just breweries, joining Kongs for a second time is Bristol-based, Burger Theory, who have nailed the science of truly satisfying burgers, and are now well-versed at their beer + burger formulas too.
This looks to be a great venue, keen to boost Birmingham’s growing beer credentials. As a bonus, on New Year’s Eve they’re having a tap takeover with Lervig vs Birmingham’s own Dig BrewCo, and there’s plans for a Tekken tournament in the works too. So be sure to get over there!
Christmas means a lot of things to a lot of different people, but, if anything, it’s certainly a time to treat yourself. You’ve already got your plans for Christmas dinner sorted, the mince pies are at the ready and you’ve got all the chocolate you could ever dream of in your cupboards. Now you just need the beers to go with them. Whether you want a hoppy Christmas or malty wonderland, we’ve got some brews to bring on the holiday cheer. So, go on, indulge yourself!
Butcombe Brewing Co. – Chrismoose (Old Ale, 4.1%)
Hailing from Bristol, Butcombe has been going since the 70s, making unashamedly traditional ales, and they’ve got pubs scattered all over the South West providing good, honest pints to all. With this beer, they wanted to create a truly festive brew that brings to mind all things quintessentially festive, and we were keen to give it a try.
Appearance: An Amber ale, with a ruby glow, and a light cream head that bubbles away to the side of the glass.
Aroma: Sweet malt and dried red fruit, a Christmassy blend, for sure.
Flavour: A mellow, roasted brew, with a winning combination of citrus peel, coffee, caramel and a nutty aftertaste.
Certainly gets you in the festive mood. One to have alongside your Christmas dinner.
Peaky Blinder was one of the tasty brews that we recently got to try at Sadler’s Tap Room in Birmingham. We recommend a visit there this Winter, but if you feel like staying at home, this brew is one to have on-hand.
Appearance: A dark, ebony brew with a smooth tan coffee-like crema.
Aroma: A nose of rich chocolate and dark fruits. Smells like Christmas cake straight out of the oven.
Flavour: Warming, toasted malt, with open-fire roasted chestnuts, cinnamon, orange and dark chocolate.
A rounded and tasty dark brew that’s full of Christmas cheer. This one could go with your mains or dessert, but it’s a fine sipper all by itself.
Keep that cold away and cosy up with this one here!
Hepworth & Co. are an impressively independent, locally-sourced and an environmentally-friendly brewery – the heat produced as a by-product of their beer chillers is captured and used to heat their offices and visitors centre! They’re back here on BeerYeti with one of their specialty releases. Brewed once a year, Noёl is a bottle-conditioned, robust ale that can be enjoyed now or after several years if you’re prepared to wait.
Appearance: A bright golden ale, with a frothy head.
Aroma: Rich and creamy brandy butter, with light toasted malts and the yeast brings a bread-like quality.
Flavour: A smooth, slightly peppery ale, with sweet malts that gives a hint of marzipan, followed by a gentle pine bitterness from the hops.
The alcohol on this one certainly warms you up, and this is a beer that will keep on giving if left to age. A nice brew to unwind with after the family meal, maybe with a mince pie or two.
Founded in 1995, Bath Ales has gone from strength to strength. Its’ new chapter began in July 2016, when it was acquired by St Austell Brewery – one of the most well-known independent, family-owned brewers in the country. Thanks to a swanky new brewhouse, Bath Ales now has more freedom than ever to continue making the beers that people know and love as well as experimenting with new and varied styles, like Lansdown. – its’ first IPA.
Appearance: Pale orange, with a dense foamy head.
Aroma: A blast of floral and earthy hops, pine and lime zest.
Flavour: A refreshing blend of resinous hops, green apple and an aromatic, woody bitterness.
Very much a West Coast IPA. A fresh and boldly hoppy brew that would hit the spot after taking a walk in the crisp air on Christmas Day.
St Austell Brewery – Proper Job (Cornish IPA, 5.5%)
Independent, regional brewer, St Austell Brewery has been making beer in Cornwall since 1851. After 167 years, its’ traditional brewing techniques remain, but the brewery has made a big impact on the evolution of the industry. Award-winning, Proper Job is one of St Austell Brewery’s most celebrated brews – the UK’s best-selling bottle-conditioned beer, no less.
Appearance: A pale, golden colour like newly-baled straw, with a head that slowly dissolves.
Aroma: Clean malt matched with freshly-squeezed lemon juice.
Flavour: Grassy hops, with acidic citrus fruits that are complimented with a bready yeast not unlike champagne that comes from the bottle-conditioning. Leaves a lingering toasted, dry bitterness.
A Proper Job well done, whether you’ve just finished wrapping all of your presents or written your last Christmas card, reward yourself with this fine brew.
This stylish brewery from Brooklyn, New York, started in 2004, and Bengali has been brewed since the beginning. The brewery and this beer have evolved a fair bit – two of the hop strains in this beer didn’t even exist when it started – and, as of last year, all their brews are now raw and unfiltered. Their tagline ‘Beer Is Culture’ is something we can get behind too.
Appearance: A slightly hazy honey-coloured brew, topped with an ample white head that sticks to the glass.
Aroma: The earthy hops bring fresh herbs and there’s some luscious tropical notes in there too.
Flavour: A full-on hoppy brew. Gives great bitterness and mouthfeel, with clean mineral notes and a dry finish.
A great one if you like something different to the more citrus-heavy IPAs. Would also match nicely with most cheeses.
What better way to fill your holidays, right? These beers would make tasty presents, but don’t miss yourself off the Christmas wish list. Merry Christmas from us here at BeerYeti! Wishing you all good cheer(s)!
Usually £95 each, UBREW are offering epic value, with a 2 for 1 brew course.
6 hours of immersive hands-on brewing experience for two adults. Learn to sparge, hop and finger pop from wise elders of the brew community.
Whether it’s your first time brewing, or you’re an experienced homebrewer who wants to take your game to the next level, this course will have you covered. You’ll learn on the same kit you’ll be brewing on during your membership, all the ins and outs, all the tips and tricks.
Take home your tasty creation when it’s all ready. 5 whole litres of the beer you crafted each, and double the amount beers each to enjoy on the day (6 beers instead of the usual 3)
Learning about brewing beer while brewing it, drinking it and living it. Take home 2 extra rare barrel-aged beers especially produced for this offer.
YOUR OWN BREWERY
For the first time ever, and only for BeerYeti viewers, we are offering a free one-month membership included with this offer.
All this for just £95, usually worth £190! Hone your skills and brew as many batches of your own beer as you like. It’s your own brewery. At UBREW, we firmly believe that beer is best brewed exactly the same way it’s best drank: with friends.
That’s why all of the memberships we sell are 5-person group memberships. So when you sign up for UBREW, four of your mates are signing up with you. You get unlimited access to one fermenter, and everything you need to fill it with lovely, lovely beer.
Offer available from November 28th to December 25th.
This certificate can be redeemed for any Saturday in our London Location. Courses are held every weekend.
Gift certificates are available should you want to be the best person ever and gift all this for the Christmas season ahead!
Sometimes the only pleasure greater than learning to brew is getting a friend or family member to learn to brew. Treat someone to this package with a printable or digital gift certificate.
Your lucky gift recipient will be able to choose the date to brew that suits them best. They’ll learn how to brew like a pro, get beers to drink on the day, as well as a case of 5 litres of beer that they brewed themselves once it’s ready to drink! Not to mention the membership. You’re giving someone a brewery as a gift. Awesome!
We typically get five-star reviews for these courses. Your certificate recipient will be get thrown right into the brew day – there is no sitting around watching someone else brew, he or she will be sparging malt, adding hops to the boil, and holding their breath while they pitch their beer.
Ideal for complete beginners or intermediate brewers who want to get a detailed breakdown of what it’s like to brew on a miniature version of the same kits the professionals use. Speaking of professional kits, they’ll be able to ogle our industrial scale kit while they craft their own beer.
We went to check out Sadler’s recently opened Tap Room on the outskirts of Birmingham. The venue was launched back in June and a visit was well overdue, so we were keen to take a look and enjoy a few bevvies.
Sadler’s dates back to 1900, with six generations. Director, Chris Sadler, re-launched the brewery with his Dad in 2004, 77 years after the brewery shut in 1927. They now have a whopping 60 barrel plant and offer a wide range of ales, including their extremely autumnal Red IPA; a tawny, reddish brew with a warming aroma of caramel and red berries, met by a cracking flavour of sweet maltiness, a touch of tropical fruit, and mellowed by a bitter nutty finish… Mmmm!
We walked into a very stylish and welcoming modern industrial interior, with a burnt wood bar, gleaming copper pipes, blue washed wooden panelling and quirky, stylised pictures on the walls. The bar boasts 8 kegged lines and 6 cask, including their legendary Mud City Stout, another favourite of ours; brewed with raw cocoa and, man, you can really get sense of this in the aroma, a powdered cocoa flavour, with hints of fruitcake and an underlying dash of vanilla.
We got a chance to chat to Marketing Director, Aster Sadler, and General Manager, Jim Pycraft, about all things Sadler’s and the new taproom. “It took 8 weeks to renovate and it’s not like we’ve had a company come in and design the whole place, some of us were painting or burning the top of the bar, Jim’s wife’s friend did the artwork that’s hanging walls. I think this is why I love it so much, it’s got our personality on it which is what Sadler’s is all about.”, said Aster, speaking fondly about the work they put into their new space. But they didn’t know quite how good it would end up, as Jim states, “It was a bit of a challenge at first because we didn’t really have a style in mind, we had the image of the brewery, but really it was trying to expand on that. So this was all of our own ideas combined into what you see today!”
And there are even more exciting plans for Sadler’s this December. “We’re currently renovating a place in Harborne, which is opening as a pop up in December. Then closing for two months refurbishment, ready for a March relaunch”, reveals Aster. “We’re heading more towards renovating different spaces rather than reviving old-school pubs. It makes things a little more exciting and it’s nice to bring something new to an area.”