"Drinking lots of beer in a field all weekend" is a tough one when it comes to selling your weekend plans to a significant other. But add in the words ‘Hackney’ ‘craft beer’ and ‘pop up food trucks’ and you might just get away with it.
The Great British Craft Beer Challenge Festival celebrates the best craft beers from the UK and across the world, serving beers from all over, including Canada, Hawaii, Norway, Italy, Belgium and Spain (among others).
There’s also street food from Speck (think pork schnitzel, bacon dumplings with sauerkraut, lots of cheese) and Chapati Party (pimped-out burritos with an Indian twist).
We asked Tom, the Assistant Head Brewer at London Fields Brewery for his pick of the more unusual craft beers on selection this weekend, including the medicinal, the smoked, the hippified and the IPA inspired by Capri Sun...
London Fields Brewery - Hackney Hopster
"The smooth, cohesive feel of this very pale Pacific Rim-style Pale Ale will initially quench your thirst. But the intense hop character, starting with a bitterness and finishing with an aromatic punch from the South Pacific Island Nation. We use just enough Caramel Malts and Wheat to give the Hopster a well-rounded and balanced profile. The Hackney Hopster is our best-selling beer for a reason. That reason is that it’s pretty good."
Anchor Brewing Co. Anchor Steam
"Think refreshing lager mixed with a mouthful of Muir Woods – this is a stalwart of the Craft Beer world. Anchor Brewing's signature Anchor Steam Beer is part Ale, part Lager, part hippy. This San-Fran classic uses a particular yeast that ferments like no other. It is originally a lager yeast, but produces bready, earthy, musty, woodsy flavours when combined with Northern Brewer hops and fermented closer to traditionally ale-like temps."
Brewfist Spaceman IPA
"This is a scrappy little contender out of Lombardy, Italy and puts the ‘Italy’ in IPA. Brewfist has concocted a citrus-y, orange-hued hop bomb that could very well be mistaken for a native of sunny Southern California. I had this on tap at my mate's pub in Florence; the first thing that came to mind was a flood childhood memories, popping that orange straw into bloated silver bag of Capri Sun. Fruit Punch, Citrus, Pine, Grapefruit, all those flavours and characteristics we've grown to expect from a great big hoppy American-style IPA dominate the olfactory. On the tongue is the same huge hop bitterness and a strange amalgamation of residual malt sweetness and a back of the throat dryness."
Schneider Weisse Tap 1 Mein Blondes
"I know of two major sensory profiles in the mundo of German Weisse Bier. One distinct characteristic is the clove flavour that can often come across as medicinal or smokey. And then there are the fruity banana flavours. Schneider Wiesse Tap 1 Mein Blondes is a happy medium for fans of both styles. The nose hosts an aroma of peach, banana, and a little bit of spice. On the tongue though is a bouquet of spice, clove, and even a slightly sour aftertaste. The familiar sight of hazy proteins in suspension, a pale yellow body, and soft, off-white double-finger head give way to the perfect summer wheat beer."
Stone Brewing Co. Smoked Porter
"Given my craft beer education (I’m from the States) I had to mention Stone Brewing Company's Smoked Porter. It’s subtly smoky, and notes of coffee, burnt toast, chocolate and caramel dominate the nose. There’s a big chocolateyness that comes across the tongue as well. Atop this opaque body of smoke and roast sits a crown of tight, creamy tan bubbles. Save this one for well after you've sampled the lighter beers on offer, as your taste buds will be crushed by the dark side. May the force be with you."
The Great British Craft Beer Challenge Festival takes place on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th September at The Brewhouse, London Fields. For tickets and more information click here.