On Friday 14th & Saturday 15th June we are throwing a beery Birthday bonanza for our parent company Cave Direct who are turning 40! If you haven't got a ticket yet, you can grab one HERE.
Hosted at The Beer Merchants Tap in Hackney Wick, we will have a ton of incredible breweries in attendance such as Cantillon, Lervig, Omnipollo, Burning Sky, Mahrs Brau and many more! But all that great beer needs equally great food to go with it, so we have drafted in some of our favourite street food traders from our food pop-ups to really round everything off.
Whilst there are a plethora of excellent beers and dishes on offer throughout the weekend, here are a couple of options we will be hitting up!
Fritto Misto Vegetarian Pizza & White Hag BA Olcan
This very special pizza is made using a squash base sauce rather than tomato and is topped with mozerella, rocket, roasted squash and goats cheese. The balance of earthy goats cheese, sweet roasted squash and peppery rocket are a delight on their own but add a beer into the mix and you're really singing!
We initially thought about pairing this up with a saison, which would work really nicely, but when White Hag confirmed they were bring their Brett IPA, Olcan that was decision made. This beer was fermented in French oak which gives delicious oaky vanilla undertones that pick up on the roasted squash perfectly, it's then layers of funk and farmyard notes that when combined with the acidity of goats cheese really go to town!
The Rib Man Rib Meat Roll w/ Holy Fuck Hot Sauce & Verzet Oud Bruin Oak Leaf
Mark's famous rib meat rolls are a London institution, as is the Holy Fuck Hot Sauce that comes with it. This deliciously opulent meat feast is seriously good quality and combined with the spice, you need something big to stand up to it.
Verzet are one of a host of amazing new-wave Belgian producers flying the flag for progressive brewing. Their flagship beer is a seriously good Oud Bruin that also has some seasonal versions throughout the year. This one is macerated with fresh oak leaves to add an extra layer of almost floral, woodland funk to this already incredible beer. The combo of sticky-sweet rib meat and tangy, malty beer is an absolute match made in heaven.
We cant wait to see everyone for what will be an incredible weekend of beer, music, food and festivities! If you haven't got a ticket yet, you can grab one HERE.
Copenhagen is undoubtedly one of the worlds great beer cities, mainly thanks to the hard work or Mikkel Borg Bjergso, better known as the man behind Mikkeller.
On top of their host of great bars, restaurants, bottle shops and brewpubs in the city, Mikkeller also host the annual Mikkeller Beer Celebration Copenhagen. This festival brings together hundreds of the worlds best breweries under one roof to showcase their wares. It's a festival we try to hit every year to hang out with many of our friends and of course to make some new ones!
Here are our TOP 10 picks from this years festival:
OMNIPOLLO - BRUNO RASPBERRY LME CRUSH, SOFT SERVE
Omnipollo are a huge force in modern brewing and their soft serve beers are understandable in huge demand at a beer festival. This pithy, tart & juicy fruited sour was an absolute delight on a hot afternoon, complete with a granita top. Yes please!
Hailing from LA, Highland Park are by no means the biggest name on the bill, but this rustic saison blended with grapes from the Jura region in France was utterly superb. These guys are definitely one to keep an eye on.
LERVIG X OUD BEERSEL - SKOGEN
It's no secret that we bloody love Lervig, nor is it a secret that we are big lambic fans so seeing the 3rd collaboration between these two on the list was seriously exciting. A blend of farmhouse beer with added Norwegian spruce tips and 1 year lambic, this was a true standout.
Arguably our beer of the festival as a whole, this golden sour ale is blended with fresh peaches and nectarines and just tasted like biting straight into fresh stone fruit. To be honest, we were very impressed with everything from these guys and it was pretty hard to pick one to feature.
COLLECTIVE ARTS - ORIGIN OF DARKNESS FORBIDDEN ROOT
This monster imperial stout had a few different iterations, but this version was the one for us. Aged in bourbon barrels with cacao nibs and guajilo chillies and radish honey for a delicate blend of sweetness, spice and toasted oaky notes.
The kings of the pastry stout, Angry Chair have somehow made a host of balanced imperial stouts with everything you can think of in there. This one is brewed using hazelnuts, coffee and toasted coconut on a sweet stout base. Its utterly mad and very much the wrong beer for a Saturday morning, but we loved it!
CLOUDWATER - PEACH BELLINI SLUSHIE
A blend of a Brut IPA made with Champagne yeast and a peach kettle sour. The original idea for this came from another festival with Paul adding Champagne to a slushie machine full fo sour beer. A true festival beer story if ever we've heard one.
Yes, we have put a classic no-frills Kolsch on an MBCC top picks list, but this beautifully balanced German classic is the perfect beer to have as a pallet reset at a place like this. It helps that its one fo the very best beers of Koln too!
One of the highest rated mixed-culture breweries in the states and you can really see why. This delicious golden sour was aged in oak barrels with coriander seeds and sea salt. The classic gose combination with a bit of uniquely Rare Barrel funk. Stunning!
SUPERSTITION MEADERY - DEVOUR THE SUN
OK, so we put a mead on a beer list, but seriously these guys are incredible. This bourbon barrel-aged mead was made using toasted coconut, macadamia nuts, vanilla pods and marshmallows. It's difficult to describe just hoe good this is. In fairness, we could have said the same about everything we tried from Superstition.
When it comes to hype breweries in Europe, it doesn’t get much bigger than Omnipollo. Starting in 2011
by two Swedes with a shared vision of changing the perception of beer — forever. They brew a plethora of
styles to explore what beer has and can become. The joint and equal partnership between brewer Henok
Fentie and graphic artist Karl Grandin their creative process has come to resemble the work shop of other
pop cultural expressions such as music.
Their beers are always a collaborative effort and they brew at breweries in all corners of the world. This
approach means they get to stay curious, grounded and tuned in.
Omnipollo have continued to push the boundaries of beer with their iconic soft-serve IPA’s and massive
Imperial stouts infused with flavourings and adjuncts to make you questions what actually makes a beer.
They certainly don’t pay any attention to the Reinheitsgebot.
We are super excited to be importing these off-the-wall beery sensations into the UK and you can find the latest selection HERE
It’s a huge milestone for any company but in the fast moving world of craft beer it’s especially remarkable. To mark the occasion, this June we are holding a weekend celebration at The Beer Merchants Tap in Hackney Wick and we would love for you to come and celebrate with us!
Our beer festival/birthday celebration, "In Good Company" will be a celebration of the breweries & beer industry partners we’ve worked with throughout our 40-year history as a company. We will be pouring beers from 30+ breweries throughout the venue with a room dedicated to Lambic, some of our favourite food traders, outdoor bars and tutored tastings hosted by our incredibly knowledgeable staff.
We will have some of the very best beer from breweries we proudly represent throughout the weekend. As well as the Tap we are taking over our neighbour's warehouse to double our capacity, so even more of you can come celebrate with us!
Located in Hamilton Ontario, Canada, Collective Arts Brewing is a grassroots craft brewery with as big a passion for art and music as they do for incredible beer.
Collective Arts was founded on two beliefs: The first being that creativity fosters creativity. The second being that creativity also yields delicious pints. They feature limited-edition works of art on all of their beer cans and labels, in fact featuring multiple pieces of art for every batch of every beer! They also work tirelessly to ensure the delicious brews on the inside of every can are as diverse and creative as the artists they profile.
We are delighted to be importing Collective Arts into the UK, with an ever evolving range alongside some seriously good staples across the board, they are ones to keep an eye on. Now lets take a look at some of our favourites from these Canadian brew wizards:
- Saint of Circumstance
This beer started life as a tasty blonde ale, using wheat for its lemony flavour, notes and body, then added Citra, Centennial and Amarillo hops to the brew. Collective Arts then took it to a whole new level by adding the zest of seasonal citrus. The result, a remarkably refreshing, citrus blonde ale.
Galaxy hops from Myrtleford, Victoria in Australia and Mosaic hops from Yakima, Washington, USA, deliver aromas and flavours of tropical fruits, mango and citrus. Light malt body lets the hops shine through, and finishes crisp but not bitter. This is a West Coast style IPA with a distinct Collective Arts feel.
This is a full-bodied porter with plenty of roast flavour as well as hints of molasses and chocolate. Ridiculous amounts of Chocolate and Pale Ale malts make this porter smooth and creamy but seriously drinkable.
Collective Arts take pride in tracking down the freshest ingredients to further their drinkers experience! Using their core Gose as a base, they added the freshest guava puree they could find and then let the brewers go to work. The end result was a perfect balance of tart, sweet, and sour. Expect the Pink Himalayan Salt and flowery guava to leave you refreshed and wanting more.
In just a few days, this amazing space will be filled with some of the best breweries in the world. The highlight of our festival calendar, London Craft Beer Festival, is this weekend and it’s going to be bigger than ever. The team have taken over the amazing space at Tobacco Dock so if the weather holds it’s going to be an amazing summer party without a crap warm macrolager in sight.
This year’s brewery list is the best they have ever had. We love how LCBF combines world-class hype breweries while also giving a chance for smaller guys to get their name out there. We were involved in their Raise the Bar competition, in which a panel of (ahem) experts picked four small breweries deserving of a leg-up a space, and as well as the amazing winners (Box Car, Unity, West By Three and Burnt Mill) there are lots of foreign breweries coming over for the first time.
With so much on offer, we thought it might help you guys to pick our favourites from the full list. These are the breweries you can’t miss, because you’ll be some of the first people in the country to try it and the beers going from these breweries are second to none. We’ll be stocking lots of the beers online after the festival, but also selling them for takeaway from our stand by the entrance/exit of the festival all weekend – see you there! Tickets are still available!
Buy online soon!
Pouring in the UK for the first time ever, Collective Arts are unique brewery out of Ontario, Canada. Part brewer and part art curator, they package their beers in cans designed by artists from all over the world releasing each new batch with events and installations that combine the joy and creativity of the artwork and the beer. They will be bringing that concept to LCBF, filling their room with music, live art and a barbershop… on tap expect lots of delicious NEIPA and some super-fruited sours.
We have been bringing in Lindheim to the UK for a few years, but due to the fact that this Norwegian farmhouse brewery is absolutely tiny, not many people have tried their incredible beers. Almost exclusively spontaneously fermented, and often aged over fruits from the farm, Lindheim make some of our favourite wild beers in the world. Their raspberry gose blew our mind when we first tried it, but the real deal is their more complex fruited blends. Don’t miss out on the plum and cuvee.
We are huge champions of this brewery in the UK, and you’ll know why if you have been to the brewery or tried their stunning Heather Sour. It is, simply, one of the most delicious, exciting and unusual beers in the world – truly a product of its place and unachievable anywhere else in the world. On top of that they make banging hoppy beer and just about the most refreshing Berlinerweiss-style beer in the world – the Puca. If these guys are new to you, make sure you visit their stand.
Ranked among the best breweries in the world and rightly so, Lervig can brew world-class versions of any style they turn their hand to so while Tasty Juice, Supersonic, Perler For Svin and Liquid Sex Robot are indeed some of the best IPAs in Europe, don’t forget to try their massive imperial stouts and some delicious, complex sour beers that come from some of the most inventive minds in brewing. This year they will also have an amazing multimedia experience in their room led by their amazing in-house artist, Nanna Guldbaek.
If you’re a lover of juicy, hazy New England IPA then Garage need to be on your radar. They tick all the boxes: murky, full-bodied beers loaded with stone fruit and overripe citrus, 440ml cans with unique, eye-catching designs. They aren’t just about IPAs though, Silver Peel is a fantastic red berry berlinerweiss with lots of depth, and their Imperial coffee stout, No Country, is up there with the best even though we can’t conceive a time in Barcelona cold enough that you might actually want to drink it.
Buy online soon!
Other Half may grab all the headlines when it comes to NYC, but Finback have garnered plenty of attention for their equally outstanding NEIPAs – head to their stand for super-fresh, super-juicy and occasionally dank IPAs. Every beer we have tried from them has been pretty sensational, and we’re really excited to be able to drink them for a whole weekend!
Land & Labour
A little known but very, very good side project from the head brewer of Galway bay Brewery, Tom Delaney. With Land & Labour he gets to experiment purely with fermenting beer in wood, embracing all the wild effects that open fermentation can give. His complex farmhouse saisons and mixed culture IPAs show how varied and exciting wild beer can be and the balance he brings to them all is a credit to his brewing and blending skills. Don’t miss out on these very rare, beautiful beers.
America is now the home of great brewing. It has the most varied and exciting scene in the world, taking influences from the UK, Belgium and Germany and doing what the Americans do best – making it all bigger. They took the ESB, kegged it. Discovered the IPA, dry hopped it to hell. Got drunk on Imperial stout, made it easier to get drunk on Imperial stout. Looked into lambic, made it their own. As well as making things bolder, bigger, hoppier, fruitier they have also added nuance and depth to all kinds of unlikely styles – playing with fruit in gose and berlinerweiss and adding barrel-ageing to all sorts of beers. Craft beer has gone full circle – where the old world lead it now follows the US.
Almost without noticing ourselves we have accrued some absolutely world class American beers recently, so we thought that Independence Day would be a great opportunity to show them off. Below you'll find a little run down of some of our picks. Use the code 4thofbrewly at the basket stage and get 20% off TODAY ONLY!
One of the greatest Imperial stouts ever made, Speedway was one of those beers traders used to sell their souls for. Now it's pretty readily available – a true wonder – and even comes in a handy sharing can. Chocolate and roasted malts dominate the flavor, supported by notes of dark fruit, toffee, and caramel.
One of our favourite IPAs, Racer 5 was one of the originals and still a point of reference for anyone looking to make a classic American IPA. On the aroma it is all pine and resin with hints of citrus, while on the palate it's a riot of burnt caramel, candied lemon and aromatic pine needles. Absurdly drinkable.
Get these delicious Green Flash beers while you can because we're not sure how long they will be around. This is their homage to Orval – a little hoppier, a little more delicately bretted but still funky and moreish.
The newest beer from Hawaiian brewers Kona, Hanalei is a brilliant fridge filler. RIchly aromatic thanks to azacca hops but more importantly the addition of passion fruit, orange and guava during fermentation it's an absolute fruit bomb that finishes clean so you can neck a few out in the garden over the summer.
A collaboration between one of the world's best mixed fermentation breweries and the best BBQ joint in the world – Franklins. Taking Texan figs then roasting and cold smoking them, they've created a rich and tart wild ale with soft stone fruit notes cut through by delicious, umami-ish smoke. Complex and stunning.
Crooked Stave make some of the best mixed ferm beers in the world – playing with fruit more than Jester King. This a great example of that mixing a brett fermented beer in foudres with blueberries to make for a deeply complex, sherbety and fruity sour ale.
After last year's small but perfectly formed inaugural Belgian beer festival, Ales Tales is back! We had an amazing time running the shop and trying beers from breweries we'd never heard of before. As Belgium experts that's not a thing we get to do very often!
This year's brewery list is a little bit bigger but a whole lot better, with some of Belgium's best and most experimental breweries joining the line up. As well as the returning De La Senne, Hof Ten Doormal and Siphon, organisers have added mixed ferm specialists Alvinne, saison obsessives De Blaugies and the more modern stylings of No Science and Ermitage. The last two are new to us, so they are the first place we'll head when we get to the Oval Space in Hackney on 1st of June!
As always at a Belgian beer festival, the wild variety of breweries and styles can be pretty daunting so we sat down to have a look at the beer list and pick our favourites. The joy of a small, very well curated festival like this is that every beer is a winner, and you try pretty much every one that's there! Tickets are still available so pick them up right here.
De Ranke Simplex
A Belgian Kolsch! What a time to be alive. And it's a beautiful lager/ale hybrid with soft, fruity yeast aromas cutting through a clean and refreshing pale body. It's a great first beer to get you in the mood, or a palate refresher after something sour or extremely hoppy (yes there are some hop bombs at this Belgian festival!) You can buy it here too.
A rich, velvety and smooth oyster stout so full of coffee, liquorice and soft salinity it makes you double take each time you take a sip. We think it's the best of Siphon's core range, and that's saying something. Try the beer by ordering it here.
De Blaugies Vermontoise
One of the best saisons we've ever tasted – made with spelt it has a raw, grainy and rustic malt body, dry hopped with amarillo to add zest and orange pith to the spicy yeast aromas. The Darbyste – a similar saison but fermented with fig juice – is equally brilliant with the same rustic malt feel but a smoother, fruitier nose.
t'Verzet Oud Bruin Raspberry
A delicious cherry-scented Flemish Red style sour from one of Belgium's most exciting new breweries. Based out the back of a car garage, they have a huge, innovative space and irreverent approach to brewing that bridges the gap between modern craft and traditional Belgian methods. This version of their flagship beer has been aged over raspberries for a fresh and delicate, floral tartness. We have limited stock right now!
De Halve Maan Straffe Hendrik Quadruple
Perhaps our favourite Belgian quad, loaded with caramel, banana, liquorice and slight sherry notes. More known for their Brugse Zot beers, the Straffe range is bigger, bolder and more true to the Abbey roots that inspired it. Buy it here today.
De La Senne Taras Boulba
For our money this is the best session ale in the world, and there isn't a brewer in the world who's had it and wouldn't agree. Spicy Belgian esters, soft stone fruit, a little lemon hop bite and a lightning quick finish. Its depth and drinkability put pretty much all beers at the same strength to shame. Stock up here too!