They grow up so fast don’t they. It seems like just yesterday that Birmingham Beer Bash was still in nappies. Now look at it! Three years after local beer bloggers first launched the annual craft beer extravaganza to the masses, the three-day event has become a mainstay of the city’s food and drink festival calendar.
Returning to Digbeth’s Bond Co event space once again, they’ll be more breweries and more beers than ever before with some of the biggest names in the UK craft beer community, including Beavertown, The Kernel, Magic Rock and the much talked about and highly anticipated Cloudwater Brew Co. Oh and a tiny outfit called Brewdog, you’ve probably not heard of them. Not to mention a bottle bar and an international bar full to the brim of curiosities from around the world including beers from, the best named brewery in the history of mankind, New Zealand’s Yeastie Boys.
As well as providing punters with taps and taps of delicious keg and cask beer there will be a whole host of other fringe events running alongside the festival including tasting sessions with American craft beer pioneers Lagunitas and ‘afternoon tea’ beer and food matching events with Birmingham natives Purecraft Bar & Kitchen – hoping to satisfy the beer buffs and convert any resolute lager drinkers who have been dragged along by their mates.
Pushing the boundaries of their food offerings too, the organisers have done their best to trump previous year’s offerings and have curated a group of Birmingham’s best street food vendours including The Original Patty Men, Andy’s Low and Slow, Pietanic and Fire and Slice amongst a host of others. As tempted as I know I’ll be by indulging in a box of pie and mash when I’m 10 tasters deep, I know the sumptuous smells of barbecued meats will be too much to resist.
Food has always been an important part of the weekend and with Birmigham’s street food scene booming right now combining quality beer with quality food is like watching your favourite band in the whole world being joined on stage by your second favourite. I vividly recall just how good chomping on a freshly stone-baked Peel and Stone pizza was last year when I’d already quaffed my way through pretty much every sour being served. It was however, probably one of the last clear memories of the evening I did have.
The landscape of UK craft beer has undoubtedly turned on it’s head since the first Bash back in 2013. We’ve all been busy embracing hoppy session IPAs, insanely drinkable saisons and hazy refreshing wheat beers and, while Birmingham may have been a bit slower than the likes of Manchester, Bristol and other cities outside the capital, the last year or so has seen a distinct change in the mindset of drinkers in the city, helped no end by events such as BBB.
Unfortunately for me this year sees the dates of the bash conflict with Tramlines festival in Sheffield, meaning I’ll be there for the Friday evening session only, before hopfooting it up to the Steel City early doors on Saturday. I have a feeling the car ride up may be a tender one…
Top five tipples I’m most excited for – let’s hope they’re all being served on the Friday!
Cloudwater – Farmhouse IPA 6.8%
Siren – Uncle Zester 8.5%
Weird Beard – Tsujigiri 6.2%
Yeastie Boys – Stairdancer 6.5%
Mad Hatter – Sorachi Facehugger 6.3%