When I heard through friends that there was going to be the first ever Brighton Craft Beer Festival, I was SUPER excited. I bought tickets way back in March as I assumed it would sell out! The festival had over 30 brewers from around the world, including some of my favourites and brand-new ones I was excited to try out. We got tickets for the Friday session which was 6pm – 11pm. When we got in, I immediately went to Cloudwater. I had an ‘I Should’ which was citrusy and soft at 5.5%.
I went totally rogue with my next choice. I went for a 12% stout… probably not the best to start with I’ll admit, BUT it was one of the top ones on my list to try. Amundsen’s Cookie Monster stout is without a doubt the best thing I drank at the festival. It’s coconutty, sweet, strong. Literally everything I want in a stout.
Other favourites included Don’t Mess With Yorkshire by Northern Monk, the Lemon Sour by Track, the blueberry sour by Gipsy Hill and the black cherry and chocolate stout by Fourpure.
Overall, I thought the beer selection was pretty good. There wasn’t anything outstanding or that I was surprised to see, like any big American brewers, but I tried lots of things I’ve always wanted to without having to buy each can. It’s really great value for money if you want to try a large range of beers.
The Bok Shop had a food stand set up which I thought was a stroke of genius. I had one of their classic burgers with fries and it was exaaaactly what I needed to keep me going and line my stomach for more beer!
Kind of randomly there was a stand for Brighton Gin which you had to pay extra for, and a random wine stand. Not sure what that was about. Some parts of the festival did feel a bit odd – maybe because it’s in its first year? For example, about three weeks before, the social media presence was constantly about the DJs – no beer list in sight. I didn’t really care about the DJs, that’s not why I was going. I asked for a beer list but one didn’t really ever come out. There was a series of Instagram posts focused on each brewer, but no definitive list of what would be there. Not even in the info booklet you get when you go in. Kinda weird.
I did also think it seemed quite empty. Not sure if that’s because I went on Friday night and it was busier at the weekend, but it felt quite dead. It was a really good thing for us because we didn’t have to queue or wait to get any drinks, but I couldn’t help but wonder how many tickets they actually sold.
It’s the first year it ran so understandably there will be things they learn and need to figure out, but none of what I’ve written above affected me having a fucking great night. I drank shit loads of delicious beer, found new breweries I like, met some great people and danced like an idiot with my pals. You can’t really ask for more, can you? I will absolutely be going back next year.
Bonus photo of what we looked like by the end of the night…