Weekend: Northumbrian Beer & Music Festival
I do have a soft spot for the folks at The Finborough Arms, and it’s not because they finally made a beer fan out of me after all these wine-soaked years, but also because they keep putting on these fantastically left-field events that makes my heart smile a big hearty, beery grin.
This weekend they are terribly proud to host London’s third annual celebration of Northumbrian culture.
The event was first held in 2012 on the 150th Anniversary of the original Blaydon Races, which was immortalised in a song that has been the unofficial anthem of the North East of England ever since.
This year, Saturday June 7th is the big day with a line-up of musicians starting at 2.00pm in the main bar. Northumbrian pipers will play between acts and throughout the day. Folk musicians will take their turn to demonstrate the region’s rich musical heritage.
The headline act in the evening will be Sir Jac’s Bantamacs, a Geordie rockabilly band.
There will also be a line-up of great beers from leading Geordie microbreweries such as Mordue of Wallsend, Anarchy of Morpeth and Cullercoats of North Shields, and food typical of the region including ham and pease pudding stotties!
The event is in its third year, having previously been held as a joint event in EC1 pubs The Gunmakers Arms and The Betsey Trotwood. This year, it’s being held at the Finborough Arms to bring everything under one roof and take advantage of Earl’s Court’s superior transport links.
Epic, non?The Finborough Arms 118 Finborough Road London, SW10 9ED
Pils Pride Festival at The Finborough Arms
Ok people, don’t I always bring you the best of the west?
Well, I must be on a roll right now because this weekend I am directing your attention towards the first (fingers crossed annual?) Pils Pride Beer Festival to be hosted at none other than every beer aficionado’s favourite pub, The Finborough Arms.
Yes indeed, this event is specifically highlighting lager which will be a refreshing change as beer festivals often tend to focus only on the ale. But lager has its devotees, and even as mass produced global brands continue to diminish its reputation some truly great examples of the pilsner style have emerged.
For fans of golden lagers The Finborough will be featuring a line up of as many as a dozen different world-class pilsners from breweries across Europe but also from here in the UK. One or two of them will never have been served in London before and I have even heard whispers of a brand new pilsner being launched at the event.
The festival will run from noon until close on both the 10th & 11th May. Free Entry.
You’re welcome.Pils Pride The Finborough Arms 118 Finborough Road, SW10 9ED @FinboroughArms
Brand New: The Finborough Arms
Part of what makes this area so goddamned great is the people. There are a multitude of businesses here that are owned and run not by corporations but real folks who pour their heart and souls into the establishments they run. Better still, and whether they like it or not, their personalities spill out all over their work and turns the whole process of getting a shirt dry-cleaned or buying a book of stamps into a pleasure and not a chore.
We’ve got a newbie in our midst, but something tells me he’s going to fit right in.
Publican Jeff Bell has taken up the challenge of restoring The Finborough Arms to its former ‘pub’ glory days. No stranger to the industry, he already owns a lovely gastropub in Clerkenwell called The Gunmakers, Bell made a decision early on that what the area really needed was a pub that focused on really great beer. No more, no less, fuss, no muss.
Except, given his eye for detail and what I detect as a ‘touch’ of perfectionism, The Finborough Arms has re-opened as so much more than that.
The interiors have been stripped back to the bare bones of the large dark wood bar, much as it would have been in the 1860s when the doors first opened, and apart from the green metro tiles behind the bar there is not much colour in the room. This means that the eye is automatically drawn to the tall gleaming, polished brass beer pumps, a who’s who line up of craft beer aristocracy.
On tap today: Mad Goose, Portobello Market Porter & White Portobello, Rocket Brigade IPA, Burrow Hill Scrumpy Draught, WatchHouse Winter Warmer, Flue Faker, Lagunitas IPA, Hogan’s Cider, TipoPils and König Pilsener.
Not a bad start, if you like beer and cider. Actually, not a bad start even if you’re not quite sure how you feel about beer and cider, there’s such an array of tastes and types that you may even find out your favourite has been lurking here all along as I did on opening night. TipoPils btw.
Copper top tables and church pews make up the rest of the room, a piano in the far corner that quite often has some jangly talent banging away on it and bringing up the mood.
I have been promised that there will be some events to look forward to in the form of various beer experts either brewing something specially for our delectation (rumours are abound that these may even be original 18th Century beer recipes) or simply offering the opportunity to taste some of the finer brews in a ‘flight of beer’.
I for one can’t wait.The Finborough Arms 118 Finborough Road West Brompton, SW109ED @FinboroughArms