One of the definite perks of working in PR is the variety of things you work on and the interesting places you get to see and visit. That’s definitely the case with the Indie Beer Can Festival, hosted earlier this month, by the Can Makers and the Society of Independent Brewers. The Festival saw the UK’s leading indie brewers gather together to champion the latest trend in craft beer: cans!
In the last year the market has grown from four brands in can to over 100 since the last inaugural Festival was held in 2014. Held in Hoxton Arches, London, Tom was gutted to have missed out on this invitation!
The Festival itself marks the end of the competition launched last October with independent brewers in the UK invited to submit their beers, regardless of pack format, to be canned for the first time. From over 130 entrants, 36 semi-finalists were selected before 13 were chosen as finalists.
The 13 Finalists were exhibited on the night with plenty of tasters (I snuck a few home for Tom to give his expert opinion on!) before the winners were announced. And Little Jack Horners provided the perfect accompaniment – excellent (British Pork – see #turnyournoseup) sausage and feta/spinach rolls.
Category winners included Brotherhood Lager by William Bros. Brewing Co for Best Lager; and Fireweisse by Firebird Brewing Co. for Best ‘Other’ beer. But Uprising Treason by Windsor and Eton Brewery swept the board with Best Ale, Best ‘New to Can’ and the ultimate accolade Best in Show. (If it’s any conciliation prize – Tom’s favourite was the Blonde Bird by Greyhound Brewery. )
Uprising Treason was described as ‘having a flavour that provides a punchbowl of fruits set against a sweet caramel and crusty bread structure. Its taste finishes with a juicy lingering bitterness.’ The judging team praised the beer’s balance of flavours and felt it would appeal to both ale and lager drinkers. They said ‘its gorgeous aromatics translated perfectly onto the palate.’
Canned beer is shown to preserve the quality of the beer, but the indie beer movement is also synonymous with design. This year the Festival introduced a new ‘Best Design’ category won by Steam Lager by Redwell Brewery.
To complete our beer-fuelled evening we stopped by ‘The Bike Shed’ in Shoreditch for a bite to eat. It’s a great place to tuck in to a mixture of British and American favourites (we both opted for the Shed Burgers) whilst surrounded by motor bike paraphernalia. But this was a true bikers jaunt , with helmets lined up on racks and engine growls pulling into the courtyard out back. Thursdays feature live music and the Rockabilly band performing was an excellent sound track.