Weather like this requires one thing, and one thing only. A massive room filled with cool beers. So it’s a bit of a shame that we’ve got to wait a little longer – until 5 June – for this year’s brilliant Liverpool Craft Beer Expo.
Still, that gives us plenty of time to do our homework – and gen up on the beers making the grade this year, and to find out what we can expect when the event takes over the cavernous Camp and Furnace campus.
“We first talked about organising a beer festival almost two years ago,” says one of its Directors, SB Studio’s Benji Holroyd. “At the time, lots of interesting breweries were opening up all over the UK that were making refreshing beers of incredible variety. We’d tasted some great beers when visiting other cities and whilst Liverpool has its fair share, we also wanted to round up the best of what the UK had to offer.”
“Without sounding too sentimental, we really enjoyed last years Expo, meeting all of the volunteers and seeing people enjoy themselves. So we’re just really looking forward to doing it again,” he adds.
They’ve not meddled with the format too much – why would they? Music is provided by Bido Lito, Rebel Soul, the Caledonia, Kazimier and Mello Mello. Why does no-one ever ask us? There’s street food, daily events and – er – giant pork scratchings. But really, it’s all about the 60 craft breweries keen to share their hoppy goodness.
“Most importantly though, the choice, variety and styles of the beers on offer last year was truly awesome,” Benji says. “This year will be no different and we’ve added a load of new brilliant breweries to the beer menu which we’re looking forward to trying ourselves…”
What makes this event so special – and so refreshing – is the lack of stuffiness that you can get in some of the more, ahem, worthy real ale tests. Because it’s beer, isn’t it? It should fun, right?
“We were delighted that some of the breweries actually came along to serve their beers and talk about them,” Benji says, “and the number of breweries travelling over and staying in Liverpool to attend in June is incredible. Some will be giving talks and most will be serving beers”
“We’ve been very particular in selecting the beer list that will have something for everybody,” he says.”Real ale lovers will have more than 100 cask beers to choose from, all served on handpull and at perfect cellar temperature. Then for the craft keg fans, there will be over 150 keg beers on offer, served across six different bars. If I was to pick out a magnificent seven beers to demonstrate the quality and choice, I would go for these…”
1 – The Kernel Brewery – India Pale Ale (6.8%) – Keg
The Kernel have set the standard for brewing pale beers in the UK and their range of mega-hopped IPAs are amongst the finest.
2 – Summer Wine – Barista (4.8%) – Cask
This is a great example of how to make a ‘coffee porter’. Real ale lovers with a penchant for darker beers should give this a try as it’s a great, full-flavoured rich porter.
3 – Siren Brewery – 10 Finger Discount (7.2%) – Keg
One for the craft beer geeks! This is a very rare beer in the UK. A collaboration with To-Ol of Copenhagen, this is an incredible (and expensive!) IPA aged on cedar wood.
Another great cask beer is this blackberry mild from Offbeat brewery. An interesting take on a usually traditional and overlooked beer style.
5 – Liverpool Craft Beer – White Fox (6.3%) – Keg
Although I’m biased, this is a really interesting beer! It’s a strong wheat beer with the big-flavour hops of an American IPA, definitely one to try.
6 – Buxton Brewery – American Rye (4.3%) – Cask
The guys at Buxton Brewery are producing some really good beers in both keg and cask. This is a great example of a Rye beer, it has a great malt base and is packed with American hops. It will be available on the cask bar.
7 – Anspach & Hobday – Table Porter (2.8%) – Keg
If you get a chance to try this beer, you certainly should as we’re very privileged to have it! This brewery only produce around 300 litres a week from their tiny London brewery. An incredibly flavoursome, low strength porter.
Liverpool Craft Beer Expo 2014
June 5 – June 8
Camp and Furnace