I’m in an old orphanage that was converted to an interrogation centre in WW2 and it’s Halloween. Scariest of all I am in the company of ‘Lord Battersea’! It must be the Wandsworth Common beer festival again!
These, in my humble opinion, have been the best beer festivals in London for the past year or so at least. Always something new, rare or collaborative and this year a London debut for my beloved Little Beer Corporation.
Dredged from the extensive ‘draft archives’ at a time when there are more beer festivals than ever this is one that I look forward to more than many.
Why? Well ‘Lord Battersea’ aka Mark Justin is an opinionated guy with a great venue and the energy to make it happen. Whether you agree with him or not (me? often but not always) he is entertaining and knowledgeable company. Many festivals rely on beer either being ‘supplied’ (via a distributor say), or ‘sold’ (breweries wanting their beers at the festival) but at Wandsworth they are curated and sought. Breweries are approached in advance to brew something special or rare, sure Mark has some favourites (step up Sarah Hughes) but you can be sure that there will be an interesting selection. Not 300 variations on 3.8 – 4.5% bitter (CAMRA take note).
If I’ve a gripe then it’s the dominance of cask over keg, I’d like to see a balance. They had an unfortunate experience the first time they tried to have a lot of keg, warm day, underestimation of power required, blown electrics etc.
Beer lovers and alcoholics will love the ‘preview night’ fixed sum and free beer. A nice idea that doesn’t end in debauched drunkenness
Beer selection: 8.5/10
Beer quality: 8/10
A good night out: 8/10
Total score: 41/50, 82%