Drinking beer never used to be cool, it was the reserve of lager-swilling, loudmouth lads or anorak-wearing, pot-bellied men who sipped real ale next to a side of pickled eggs. Fast forward to 2017 and every London pub worth their salt stocks a decent selection of craft ale, from IPAs made by Brixton breweries through to red ales from Hackney. Small batch breweries are thriving, reviving methods and hops to create arty and drinkable tins and bottles. Gone are the days of mass-produced European or American lager, craft beer is still on the ride up, and it shows no sign of slowing down for 2017; read our five reasons 2017 is the year of craft beer.
A beer festival is coming to Hackney
We had Champagne week, we had cocktail week, we even had Pisco Sours week, and now beer has entered the hall of fame by earning its own seven-day celebration. As part of London Beer Week, DrinkUp: The Beer Edit is taking over Hackney’s Oval Space with all the pop-ups they featured last year under one roof. For £10 you can slurp your way through some of London’s finest breweries, drink reduced beer and enjoy a free arrival pint - what’s not to love?
Breweries have opened up for tours
No longer are breweries the home of muscled, gravely voiced men who’ve ‘been down brewery’, they’ve now been Hackney-fied and opened up to the public. Take in the beer fumes, remark loudly on the fermentation process and nod your head knowingly at every mention of hops as several breweries put on tours and tasting sessions including Howling Hops, Crate Brewery, Fuller’s and Southwark Brewery.
Craft Beer Rising is even bigger for 2017
In a match akin to Harry and Sally, Craft Beer Rising is returning to East London’s Brick Lane for 2017, only this year it’s even bigger. The festival takes place across two days and has more than 170 breweries from across the globe. Held The Old Truman Brewery, once one of London's largest (so meta), the festival doesn’t stop at shed-loads of beer, it dials up antics with live bands and DJs.
Bottomless beer brunches are a thing
Boozing used to be a habit reserved for the evening, then bottomless brunch was invented and drinking from 10am on weekend mornings was made acceptable - God bless London. And while many pre-lunch drinkers prefer to stick with trusty prosecco and bloody marys, a few brave venues are offering craft beers instead. All Star Lanes Brick Lane doles out craft beer every weekend with choices such as Beavertown Gamma Ray, Steven’s Point Amber Lager and Boulevard Brewery Single Wide IPA. The Draft House in Tower Bridge and Fitzrovia also offer you six ⅓ pints from a choice of 10 beers.
International breweries are opening pubs in London
You’ve only got to mutter craft beer pub for someone to drag you into a Brewdog, the original hangout. Now, the big boys from across the pond have come to play; American ale company Goose Island have opened their first European spot in Balham named The Vintage Ale House. Think endless pints of their IPA and a snazzy selection of wheat and blonde beers that the offy down your road certainly don't stock - a concept that other international breweries will surely be keen to deploy.