The Campaign For Real Ale organise a number of real ale festivals in and around the capital. The general format is a room in a town hall, with racking in place for the event, to house many barrels of beer.
On arrival, pay your entrance fee, pay a deposit for a glass (though you might want to keep the glass as a souvenir), and join the festival.
Note that drinks are not free; remember to bring enough cash before entering. Some festivals use tokens, requiring you to purchase sheets of tokens to exchange for beer. Excess tokens can be refunded on the way out.
Most connoisseurs and afficionados like to drink half pints, as you get to sample twice as many beers.
|Battersea||February||[Battersea Arts Centre]?|
|London Drinker||March||[Camden Centre]? near King's Cross|
|Beer on Broadway||May||[Ealing Town Hall]?|
|Great British Beer Festival||August||Olympia||The biggest CAMRA festival in the UK|
|St. Albans||September||St. Albans Civic Centre||1/2 hour's train journey, but worth it|
|Pig's Ear||December||Stratford Town Hall||(was cancelled in 2004)|
For a list of beer festivals in London and elsewere see http://www.camra.org.uk/SHWebClass.asp?WCI=ShowCat&CatId=606
Many pubs organise beer festivals of a smaller nature.