by Deborah Mitchell

So What is Craft Beer Rising?

The UK's Biggest Craft Beer Festival that is now in it's sixth year. We attended with our own brewery (Hillstown Brewery) on previous occasions but for this visit it was purely R&R to chill out enjoy the beers and have a chat with some of our customers, good beers enjoyed with good friends.....

We arrived into Brick Lane via our Uber taxi and immediately the atmosphere was buzzing from when we stepped out of the cab, I like the hussle and bustle of the East End of London, it's vibrant and we soon spotted the queue to get in and so we jumped straight in, we had discussed having a coffee first but like a bunch of excited school kids we joined the queue. I thought what a nice mix of people waiting to get in, all age groups, all nationalities and one common factor bringing them together...... craft beer and some pretty awesome beers at that.

So wrist band on, catalogue in hand and a glass at the ready, we started to climb the steps, I felt like I was walking into a rave, super excited and loving the beats blasting out, as I entered the main beer hall I was immediately impressed to see a much better layout that previous years, more space and a more delicate lighting set up, it had a warm feeling. We decided to have a walk through before making any beer choices, well we made it a short walk and soon found some suitable beers to kick the night off.

The Plan....well we wanted to enjoy the festival and our weekend in London so we decided to stay with the sessionable abv beers to begin and then try the big hitters before going home.

The Beer Selection?

With 175 breweries in attendance it was an incredible offering of beers, clearly we couldn't sample them all but we each had a few 'bucketlist beers' we wanted to try, I can honestly say I didn't have a bad beer all night, I got my mind blown with a few beers and genuinely was inspired by some of the beers I tried.

I went through some amazing NEIPA's and alot of Sour beers too, there was also a decent selection of cider, some spirits and wine too. It was great to see some of our own Irish breweries there representing, we had Bru, Wicklow Wolf & the Porterhouse and we received their welcoming hospitality with a friendly face and a good chat.

The Beer Stands?

I love it when I go to a beer festival and I meet the brewers at the stand, not just because we sell them ingredients but because their passion is what sells the beers, they tell you how the beer was created and what they wanted to achieve and what inspired the choice. I had one brewer explain that he made a mistake with a beer and he decided to then turn it into a sour and age it for six months as an experiment, it was one of the best sours I tasted that night....

The Music?

Krafty Kuts played the best set on Friday in my opinion, I'm past the shape shifting dancing stage of my life now but it lifted the mood and I watched some hilarious Dad dancing which really made my night.

The Food?

Amazing selection for a beer festival and I'd love to see more great food stands at beer festivals especially here locally in Northern Ireland as that is often a let down

The Merchandise?

Picked up some nice brewery T Shirts and of course got the CBR 18 glass to bring back the happy memories when having beers in the future

In Summary

We smiled, we chatted we laughed and actually got to sit at a table as a group and have an amazing experience, we really enjoyed the music and feel this is a top notch fest that we will be sure to return too. Well done guys for arranging a great event and thanks to the brewers we chatted with you made it an amazing experience for our team.