A record number of brewers milling around East London can mean only one thing: Craft Beer Rising is back at Old Truman Brewery for another year.
170 breweries showed over 700 beers at two Trade Sessions, before opening to the public. Fuller's and Heineken were among the major players who timed new launches for the festival. Fuller's revealed London Pride Unfiltered, an unpasteurised version of its iconic beer.
Alex Brandon-Davies and Sarah Bartels, two young Heineken brewers, debuted the first two beers in the group's Maltsmiths range. Targeted at 'curious' beer drinkers, the Bavarian-style Pilsner and American-style IPA, both 4.6% abv, were developed at Wee George, the test kit at Caledonian Brewery.
Lervig's exuberantly orange-citrus-infused Tasty Juice (6%) and Kona's Hanalei (4.5%), with its 'three classic Hawaiian ingredients, orange, passion fruit and guava', both from Cave Direct, were among our other highlights.
Butcombe unveiled an ambitious seasonal schedule, alongside stylish new branding, a host of 33cl bottles, and the debut of several beers on tap. Our tip: the driven but balanced IPA, Goram (5%).
Stiegl, the popular 525-year-old Austrian brewery, offered diversity via agent Euroboozer. Brews on offer range from its new, elegant session pale ale, Columbus 1492, through to the complex Gipfelstürmer (loosely translated as 'first to reach the peak') in mountain-adorned 75cl sharing bottles (5.2%).
Purity's Bunny Hop shows great breadth of hoppy flavours, with a measured bitterness on the finish, strongly overdelivering on its 3.5% abv.
Finally, the latest brewery from industry veteran Bill King, Horsham-based Firebird, draws inspiration from ‘craft beer styles from round the world’. King’s CBR collection included the elegant, balanced Fireweisse (5.5%), and Paleface (5.2%), an approachable, sessionable Pacific APA.
Named after the traditional Scottish raspberry-laden dessert, Cranachan Killer from Fierce Beer (5.5%) shows just the right level of raspberry tang, illustrating why Fierce picked up RateBeer's Best New Scottish Brewery accolade in its first year of operation.
Another new face, Gun Brewery, named after Gun Hill in West Sussex, showed an impressive range with strong branding, including an evocative Smoked Rye beer (4.7%).