It's been an amazing 12 months for London beer and brewing. National awards for some of our best pubs and brewers, new bars, new beers, new drinkers all picking up and building on the wonderful vibe that has been resonating since the London Brewers' Alliance showcase event last autumn.
As your Man At The Bar I've been commenting on facets of this scene while being delighted myself by new experiences - last week's trip to Brodies being a memorable case in point - and I'm immodest enough to point to my record of picking winners. As well as Boggle Awards for The Harp (CAMRA National Pub of the Year), Kernel Brewing (SIBA National Gold for their bottled Export Stout) now Cask Pub & Kitchen (Boggle Honourable Mention) has picked up the Publican National Pub Of The Year award for leased & tenanted premises. Congrats to Martin, Peter and the bar team. Fullers were also big winners at the Publican Awards, winning Regional Brewer and Managed Pub Company Of The Year.
And what about pubs and bars? London has always had some good pubs, but choice was sometimes a problem. Having seen a city like New York show off the world of beer in its better bars, it felt like London was missing out. It's hard to think back six or seven years to a time before Cask, the Euston Tap, those Draft Houses perhaps, and The Rake.
We could argue, but for me, The Rake was the sign that London was paying attention. The Rake showed there was a market for beer in all its forms from some of the best brewers in the world. The Rake was first, and it showed others that you could be successful if you were serious about selling beer. It educated the uncertain, delighted the geek.
Now, having hosted fests to celebrate the Welsh and West Country brewing scenes, given space over to launches and events for craft beer from all over Great Britain, they are hosting a celebration of the scene right on their doorstep, and about time too. Glyn and his team will be dusting off the stillage once more to offer almost 50 different beers on cask and keg over a week, starting this coming Sunday, 10th April.
As well as beers from Brodies, Sambrooks, Zero Degrees, Brew Wharf and Ha'penny, some of London's New Wave of brewers will be on hand through the week -
On Sunday 10th from 2pm, the Andies Moffatt and Smith from Redemption will be in and three of their beers will be on cask;
On Monday 11th at 7pm, Evin O'Riordain of Kernel will on on hand. Featured beer is the latest batch of Black IPA, which broke your writer last time they casked it;
On Tuesday 12th at 7pm it'll be Steve Schmidt from Meantime (just back from NERAX in Boston, I believe, where he could have drunk Kernel beer!). He'll be accompanied by a couple of the brewers and there will be five beers on keg (don't tell Protzy - my man at NERAX told me that CAMRA aren't happy with Meantime. Gasp!);
On Wednesday 13th at 7pm, it'll be Camden Town Brewery in the guise of Jasper Cuppaidge with five kegs and two beers on cask;
Finally, on Thursday 14th at 7pm, the lads from Windsor & Eton will along to launch their Royal Wedding beer "Windsor Knot" in London, along with three other of their beers.
You should also look out for the last-ever cask of Fullers Past Masters No. 1. I'm there on Sunday lunchtime taking pics and hopefully quaffing some Redemption Trinity. Let's drink London Beer!