Features

Beer here?

beerCouncillor Donovan with a pint of The Councillor

Anyone fancy a Wanstead Beer Festival? Councillor Paul Donovan raises a glass to the ongoing success of beer festivals and invites responses from anyone who would like to see Wanstead on the beer festival map

Beer festivals have grown in popularity over recent years. Many are run by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). They offer a chance for people of all ages, shapes and sizes to come together and enjoy a variety of beers. There is also often entertainment, with many bands taking part in the festivals.

The biggest event held annually is the Great British Beer Festival, which draws thousands of people into Olympia over a five-day period in August. Brewers from all over the country provide a broad range of beers, from heavy imperial stouts to the lighter blondes (closer to lager). There are also cider and perry bars.

The serving of the different beers is a mass volunteer operation – often done by heroic CAMRA members. There are also a variety of food outlets, providing anything from pasties and hot dogs to Indian street food.

A beer festival closer to home is the Epping & Ongar event in July. This has the added attraction of being held at the Epping Ongar Railway, so beers can be enjoyed whilst travelling on steam trains.

Every beer festival is different. Another July favourite is the Ealing Beer Festival, held in Walpole Park. A number of marquees are erected within the park. With the sun shining, it is a great place to have a beer. By contrast, Norwich has an October beer festival in the historic St Andrews Halls.

Another winter local festival is the Pigs Ear event, held in Hackney at the end of November and organised by the East London & City CAMRA branch. It is an excellent occasion, with more than 3,000 attending over the five days last year. East London & City Camra branch, though, are old hands, the most recent event being its 38th.

Another excellent event last year was the Wandsworth Common Halloween Beer & Cider Festival, held at the historic Royal Victoria Patriotic Building. What Wandsworth showed was how an event can be run in a relatively small space. It also had a personal favourite, The Councillor beer, brewed especially for the event by the Sambrooks brewery.

So, what about a Wanstead Beer Festival? There are certainly a number of open spaces and large buildings that could host such an event. There are plenty of real ale fans in Wanstead, as witnessed by the variety of beers stocked in our local pubs. And our excellent transport links would make it easy for people coming from outside the area to attend.

Around the time of the Wanstead Fringe and Wanstead Festival maybe? If there is sufficient interest, then Wanstead can surely put itself on the beer festival map.


To register your interest in a Wanstead Beer Festival, or to get involved in organising one, email beer@wnstd.com