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  • Writer's pictureMatt Chinnery

The 30th Pig’s Ear beer and Cider Festival 2013

**warning this post features extreme stereotypes**

Real ale, craft beer, new beer, old beer, cask, keg etc etc etc it can all get a bit confusing and people can really get picky about one or the other! Me, like many things I life I like to have two categories ‘good’ and ‘bad’! I love real ale, I love craft beer, I have had terrible ‘real ale’ and I have had terrible ‘craft beer’… Good beer and bad beer!

I feel I am slightly stuck in limbo land sometimes when trying to place myself in the world of beer, I do and have always drank ale and world beers over boring soul destroying mainstream lagers ever since an early age along with my college pals! I haven’t popped up recently with the modern surge of new age craft beer drinkers but I am at an age where maybe some would see me and put me in that ‘new school craft drinkers’ box. I love both worlds, I love and appreciate everything that CAMRA has done for beer. I also love most of the new jazzy spin on drinking beer.


Sometimes looking at both sides though I feel that they don’t mix with eachother. Certain parts of the older CAMRA drinking crowd dislike these young Shoreditch hipsters and likewise some of the New wave drinkers dislike the old weirdy beardy folk from the CAMRA generation! Of course this is an extreme and unfair stereotyping of both groups! The thing I see is one thing they both have lots of, passion!

This huge bit of waffle isn’t just me going on that same old boring craft beer vs Real ale battle argument, I want this to be in mind when reading my write up on the brilliant 30th Pig’ Ear beer and cider festival!

My reason for loving this festival so much weren’t because of the great beers alone (and there were many!) but it was finally an event that I felt crushed the silly barrier between old and new! There were classic breweries alongside beers from the new wave of British beer brewers. The crowd was mixed and busy with passionate beer drinkers who want a bit more than fizzy pint of piss!


The Round Chapel is an arena like church in Hackney which is playing host to the CAMRA run event, a open hall with huge stage and organ with a oval balcony looking down into the crowd. Another guilty pleasure of mine is wrestling and I tell you this venue reminded me of an awesome hall to watch some independent wrestling!

In such holy surroundings it seemed slightly amusing that we were all there to worship our love for our drinking sins! It was even more amusing that while in this setting every time an announcement was made over the booming PA system from a hidden MC it was like the big man himself was talking down to us from the frothy heaven’s!

Lots of warming dark beers on here, a stunning line up of dark milds, rich stouts and chocolaty porters! My drinking buddy’s and myself were here to celebrate a birthday and it’s great to get some of our friends who may not drink ale as regularly as a few of us do to open their taste buds up to something new, which over all went down really well too! It is also worth to note that the beer festival holds the sexiest looking tombola I have ever seen with all beer prizes of books to bottles to huge Belgian beers! It is also the first time I have seen the great idea of a table of numbers to leave your drink (guarded by CAMRA security) while you take a leak!


Pre kick off I had a look at the beer menu with much pleasure to see the likes of Brentwood Brewery, Colchester Brewery and Dark Star along side names like Beavertown, Weird Beard and London Fields. Some examples of the exceptional beers were…

Elephant School – Cookies and Cream 4.5%, a gorgeous creamy milk stout which was my first beer of the evening and set a very high bar for the rest!

Beavertown – Smog Rocket 5.4% love love love this beer had it before and the only beer of the night that I had which I have drank before, which is a sign of how much I love this smoked beer.

Pitfield – Hoxton Scotch Bonnet Christmas Beer 6%, I love any sort of food that is friends with the scotch bonnet and this beer was very good, had the sweetness of a scotch bonnet but not spicy although it did give you a slight warming feel in the back of your throat.

Dark Star – Coconut Porter 5% this was like a dark chocolate bounty bar in a pint, which I guess for some people might be a bad thing but for me it was 100% a good thing!

Kernel – Export India Porter (KK) 5.8%, Kernel make some of the country’s best beers which is all you need to know about this beer, it is by their high standards brilliant!

Other beers that is worth a shout was the gorgeously Belgian tasting Moncada – Notting Hill red (woodern cask) 6%, the heavyweight 9.5% Weird Beard – Somethign something, dark side and the excellent London Fields – Black Frost Stout 6%.


There is still some time for people to get themselves down Hackney to experience how good this beer festival is! Unfortunately I don’t think I can make it again however if I could I most certainly would! I really hope that this excellently run beer festival is a sign of things to come, as there would be so many possibilities if the two worlds of beer United together and I am sure it would no doubt end in successful results for ‘GOOD BEER’!!!


*Sorry for the lame photos I was too busy having a beer!

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