First orders


The first-ever Wanstead Beer Festival is nearly upon us. If you haven’t got your ticket, get one now, says organiser Paul Donovan, who hopes the event will become an annual fixture 

There has certainly been a lot of interest since the idea of the Wanstead Beer Festival was launched in this publication earlier in the year. Tickets have been selling fast, and it’s cheaper in advance than on the day.

A small group of devoted beer drinkers have come together to make the event happen, running from 1pm to 10.30pm in the halls at Christ Church on Saturday 14 October. The event will bring together a whole variety of beers, ciders and some wine from around the country.

There has been great support from a number of brewers, including Brentwood, East London, Neckstamper, Beerblefish, Pretty Decent and Redemption. But there are beers from across the country as well, from Wales to Nottingham and Sussex. There will also be a selection of ciders – a drink that is increasingly popular with youngsters. Hopefully, all tastes will be catered for.

Not forgetting the commemorative glass, which is included in the ticket price. The heron-themed Wanstead touch gives it a real cachet feel.

This year has been an important and challenging one for the beer industry. Clear of COVID at last, but then along came the cost of living crisis. It has been a struggle, especially for our pubs, trying to keep their heads above water.

This year has seen a full programme of beer festivals across the country, with the punters flocking in. Many locals will have attended the Epping and Ongar Beer Festival in July. Not only was the beer great, but there was the opportunity to travel on the trains between North Wield, Epping and Ongar. Great work in organising the festival from the local Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) branches.

The East London & City CAMRA branch really does punch above its weight, partnering in Epping & Ongar as well as running the hugely successful Pigs Ear beer festival in Hackney at the end of November. The event attracted 3,000 ale drinkers last year. So, anyone whose appetite is whetted in Wanstead, why not go on to the Pigs Ear event in the run-up to Christmas (28 November to 2 December)?

The Wanstead Beer Festival is a not-for-profit event, with any money made being divided between three local charities.

After the successful Wanstead Fringe and Wanstead Festival, it is hoped the Wanstead Beer Festival will also become a regular fixture in the calendar of events in the area. Hopefully, it will bring in people from beyond Wanstead for a first taste of life here. Then they might come back another time to visit our pubs, restaurants and shops.

The Wanstead Beer Festival will take place on 14 October in the halls of Christ Church. Visit wnstd.com/beer