My liver takes a bashing so yours can sit back and enjoy the good stuff - it's all in the line of duty guys so don't worry, I got this!
Craft Beer Rising is my favourite boozy event of the year, and I always book the day (and following day!) off to make sure I do the best job possible. This year, the event seems to have gone to new heights, the organisation was better, the layout spot on and the breweries top-notch.
It's really hard to pick out just a few of the brilliant breweries and beers on show to bring to your attention, but I think I've narrowed it down pretty well.
Wild Beer Co
What a brewery. These guys' output is something to behold. With so many brilliant beers in keg, cask and bottle, it's hard to choose. Fortunately, you don't have to - they're hosting a Tap Takeover at Craft Beer Co in WC1 this Saturday (28th Feb). Get on down!
Kiwi Craft Beer Collective
Distributed in the UK by Instil Drinks, Yeastie Boys, Tuatara, Renaissance, 8 Wired & Three Boys are New Zealand breweries with some seriously incredible beers to try.
They were showcasing the best from each respective brewery, but I can't remember for the life of me which was which.
I remember being blown away simply by the Tuatara Pilsner (£2.70, Honest Brew), but I went on to try them all. It was very late in the afternoon. That's the excuse I'm sticking to...
Purity Brewing Co - Gnarly
Obviously after copious amounts of beer, we (me and Adele) wondered into a seminar about beer & cheese tasting. Two of our favourite things in the world. We ate cheese, we drank beer.
My favourite beer, and my last of the afternoon at CBR, was a special edition from Purity. Gnarly is exactly that, but is also incredibly balanced, aged in whisky barrels with great sweetness, bitterness, fruits and florals, and absolutely everything you want with cheese.
Hunt it out in bottle (£14.95 at Bottle Shack), and drink it with Goats Cheese. Unreal!
Beercat - La Segadora
Beercat, also distributed in the UK by Instil, have a logo worryingly similar to a rather large Scottish Craft Brewer, and lets be honest, the name isn't much different either. I kinda want to grab them by the shoulders and shake them in the wake of all these silly legal disputes recently.
Anyways! Spanish Craft Beer is sensational. It really is. La Segadora is a collaboration with Magic Rock, and as a 7% Farmhouse IPA, it really ticks all of my boxes.
Like a hoppy, sweetish Saison, this got my juices flowing and I immediately bought a case to takeaway!
Tank beer, or Tankovna (the Czech term) is big in the ex-soviet country, but has only just started to cross over to the UK. Other breweries, such as Meantime, have been doing it for a few years, but now there's loads of Tankovna bars and pubs popping up.
What makes this different is the fact that the beer is unpasteurised and unfiltered. More natural, fresher and tastier.
Pilsner Urquell wins it for me - I had it after Craft Beer Rising at The Draft House in Seething, straight from a massive copper tank. Great tasting Pilsner! (You can buy it for £24 for 24 bottles at Majestic)
There was SO MUCH good stuff at CBR, I wish I could remember and write about it all...
Instead, I'll probably just have to keep retesting stuff, and make sure I go again next year.
Also, do yourself a favour and pop it in your diary for next February as well - it really is the best event in the beer calendar!