Beer festivals in our new post-lockdown world!
Many events have been cancelled or postponed as a result of lockdown. For beer lovers looking forward to discovering new beers or drinking old favourites again, this has been a huge disappointment. However, while it’s not exactly business as usual, there is some light on the horizon. So, here are two upcoming beer festivals which you might not want to miss out on.
Camden Oktoberfest is due to launch London’s first socially distanced, post-lockdown Oktoberfest Celebrations across the first four Saturdays in October. This über-cool celebration of the famous Bavarian beer festival takes place at Camden’s iconic music venue Electric Ballroom. You can expect a Bavarian beer hall full of beer tables with German beer and traditional food, while a brass band plays a mix of music styles. There will be plenty of other entertainment too.
Each session will operate on a 50% reduced capacity, so all guests can be seated throughout. Various safety measures will be in place. These include the use of face masks and gloves by staff and plexiglass-shielded bars. Bathroom attendants will be on duty and hand sanitisers will, of course, be available too. A distanced queuing system will operate at bars, with apps for additional table service. Glassware will be disposable and single-use.
Standard tickets cost £10, while beer tables and VIP Balcony Booths can be booked online. However, at the moment it’s a table-only event, so groups will need to buy the table packages.
CAMRA’s virtual Great British Beer Festival
As we become increasingly accustomed to ‘the virtual world’, it’s no surprise that beer events are also taking place online. One of the highlights in the calendar for many beer lovers is CAMRA‘s Great British Beer Festival (GBBF). This year the GBBF is going virtual from 11th-13th September, as the traditional August beer celebration had to be cancelled.
Visitors can purchase a ticket to a weekend of live beer tastings. These will run from 2pm – 9:30pm on each day of the festival. Experts will lead the tastings and there will be a number of pre-recorded ‘events’ too. These incorporate a tour and Q&A of Charles Faram hop farm, Crisp Malt maltings, Harvey’s Brewery and Little Pomona Orchard & Cidery.
Tickets for the virtual GBBF
Tickets retail at £46 each and include a 2020 festival glass plus 11 beers to participate in two of the tasting sessions. The ‘Introduction to Beer’ session, for example, will feature some of the category winners from last year’s Champion Beer of Britain competition. Additionally, there will be a further six beers for an in-depth tasting of a specific style. The options range from special American beers to bitters, goldens, dark brews and more.
Over half of the tickets were sold out within 24 hours. However, organisers have worked hard to ensure all tastings are still available for the final orders this week. Festival organiser Catherine Tonry says: “With less than a month to go before the festival begins, we’d urge everyone to order their tickets today to avoid disappointment. We have a great line up this year with expert tasters, an American beer bar and tours of hop farms, orchards and breweries. It’s a weekend not to be missed!”
Unfortunately, Brew//LDN has just announced the cancellation of its much-heralded Summer Sessions due to take place at the end of August. However, they will be working hard to relaunch this festival for next summer and their flagship event in February 2021. You can read highlights from Brew//LDN’s inaugural event earlier this year on Ryebeck’s Industry Insights pages.
Author: Robin Goldsmith of The Write Taste.