The focus of my trip was to be in attendance at Craft Beer Rising , a beer festival held in the old Truman Brewery Site on Brick Lane in East London. Thursday morning I walked to the station , stopping to procure a crab sandwich. A lot of negative things get said about English food but I found it to be cheaper and on the whole of better quality than back home. After the train to London I made my way straight to the beer festival complete with pack to staff our bar through the trade session. The trade session is when beer is no charge to ticket holders and you present your beers to industry people. It was a lot of fun and I had some great conversations . La Mure Extra was particularly popular sparking some enthusiastic excitement which was great. The festival was cool, of particular interest to me was the Pickled Eggs bar! We had staff come in to run the bars for the night sessions so I popped over to the Commercial Tavern for the NZBC birthday party. Next day it was another trade session before I popped out to see Tricia (my dads cousin) Clive her husband, Faith her daughter and Chris another of my father’s cousin’s son. We shouted across the table to be heard at a Brewdog bar before heading back to the festival where us NZ brewers were giving a presentation. I was a little late stressing out the NZBC crew but hopefully I made up for it with some of my smart arse banter during the presentation.
On the Saturday it was just public sessions so it wasn’t critical to be there dead on time so I went and took in Borough Market first , bought cheese from Neil’s Yard Dairy , bought beer from Uto Beer, had a pint at The Market Tavern and took a photo of the location used for the hideouts in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels which I love. I then popped into the festival for a while, seeing Sam for the only time on the trip as he had been in NZ up till then. Later I popped out to take in some local pubs after 2 so so ones I stumbled upon my favourite London pub of the trip. The Pride of Spitalfields is just off Bricklane and I can only imagine pretty much as it was 30 years ago. The landlady (I think) was behind the bar, the beers were all in perfect condition, the toilets basic but clean, the carpet ancient and aromatic , no gastro menu, crisps at a push, and best of all there was Lenny the pub cat. I sat next to him and enjoyed 3 pints while pretending to watch rugby which I neither understood nor cared about but it was perfect. As I was there the pub got busy with the classic London habit of drinkers spilling out onto the road. There was a wonderful mix of people of all ages and as far as I could tell a range of class too. Its on my list for next time.
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