05 | Jul | 16

Hugh Thomas

The Holy Grail

For a while now, we’ve been banging on about how craft beer and street food are practically made for each other. And yet, despite the common ground they share – diplomatic ideologies, homemade approach et cetera – they just won’t get into bed.

To be fair, there are some collaborations going on. Mason & Co are doing wonders serving Five Points’ pale ale alongside Capish’s meatball subs. And the latest thing is Smokestak helping 40ft smoke some wheat for a new brew. But still. It could be a lot better.

We may well be preaching to the choir here – industrial lagers and cheap, thin ales have been something of a mainstay for festivals around the country, even now. So we took some old advice. In the words of some French bloke who wrote plays in the 19th century, ‘If you want something done right, do it yourself.’

So we did. We brewed a beer.

Alright, we say ‘we’, but we’ve had a great deal of help on the matter. We asked UBREW, being the lovely little come-and-brew-your-own setup they are, to come up with a recipe for the world’s first street food beer. No pressure.

We wanted it to work with EVERYTHING we serve at the British Street Food Awards. So, everything from Smokin’ Lotus (finalists in 2016), who dropped round some slow smoked beef with Asian slaw and new potatoes with chili sesame dressing, to SubCult (double Award winners in 2015) who drove round a Sub Marine — seared scallops, calamari, slow cooked pork shoulder, tartar sauce, lemon and parsley.

The results are good. The results are very good, as you’ll discover if you make it to the unveiling on Saturday. UBREW can’t stop drinking it themselves.

And we don’t blame them. With a beer like this, fingers crossed it’ll make it out the brewery, let alone to you at the BSFA Final on September 17/18. Sure we’ll have a few bottles to give away in competitions.

That taster also confirmed two things. One, these guys really know their stuff. If you’ve ever fantasised over your own brew, these are the chaps to help you do it. Two, anyone who wins a bottle is in for a real treat. The brew we’ve gone with is somewhere between a traditional saison and a contemporary one (translation: sweet, refreshing, palate-cleansing, maybe a little sharp). So, as stocks are very limited – and on the house – you’ll probably want to get to the bar before everyone else.

This year, we wanted go one better on last year’s festival. Truth is, we’ve gone that much further – 18 of the best traders from the UK and Ireland, hosted at one of the UK’s best venues? Yes please. How about some of our own beer to wash it all down? Even better.