Cheers to the beer festival at Olympia

The Great British Beer Festival – a hearty homage to real ale – is about to begin at Olympia.

It opens to the public on Tuesday 2 August, followed by sessions on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

As well as ales from around London and the UK, there will be a range of street food on offer. The last bell sounds at 7pm on Saturday next week.

Local brewers

Organised by Camra, the Campaign for Real Ale, the event features ales, ciders and perries from more than 500 breweries, as well as wine and gin.

Among the local breweries taking part are the independent Portobello Brewing Co based just near Wormwood Scrubs in Shepherds Bush. It produces a Market Porter (4.6 per cent and described as being dark, smooth with strong chocolate notes) and a Summer Blonde (4.2 per cent and ‘refreshingly crisp with citrus undertones’).

Naturally you’ll also be able to have a nip of gin from Sipsmith, the distillery opened in 2009 in a run-down lock-up in Nasmyth Street, Hammersmith, and now based in Chiswick... one of the capital’s most remarkable entrepreneurial success stories.

Set up by chums Sam Galsworthy and Fairfax Hall (Sam being an alumnus of that other great west London drink empire Fuller’s), it paved the way for umpteen other gins by applying for the first distilling licence in London in nearly 200 years.

Live music

This year’s beer festival is slightly smaller than usual, but only because of the extensive renovations currently being done to the Olympia London complex.

There’s a wide range of beers from across Europe and the USA as well as the British offerings. In all, the bewildering choice extends to 900 different beers and ciders.

There will also be live music, ranging from classical to steel bands. Other attractions include auctions throughout the festival’s five days, as well as a giant pub quiz on the Saturday.

For more details about the festival, and how to get tickets, visit the Great British Beer Festival 2022 website. Over 18s only.

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