Beer Central, Birmingham

It was a fine evening in Digbeth for Beer Central last night. We joined a short and orderly queue (in a nation obsessed with queuing this week) to access the Tea Works. With over 100 beers to choose from, all included in your ticket price, we tried to keep our heads and started with a 2.8% table beer from Deya, Lil’ Chu. Magnificent.

And the quality beers just kept on coming. It was a real embarrassment of riches. My favourite part was that all of the bars were staffed by members of the brewery team so you could really get a good sense of the beers and what they were up to. Served in third glasses it was a wonderful opportunity to get a snapshot of the real diversity and quality of British beer today.

Best Beers

It’s hard to pick a favourite, but I think the BBQ Helles, a collaboration from Mondo and Braybrooke took my beer of the evening. A maple syrup smoked Helles would not be the natural choice for me. But the smoky aromas overwhelmed the senses. It had a rich velvety body and just a slight dash of earthy maple sweetness. Marvellous. Mondo were also offering an aged brown ale that was just awe-inspiring – Chosen Family. Keep an eye out for that.

Closely following up was the Key Lime Pie, a 7.5% pastry sour from Vault City. I know. A pastry sour. But it did everything it said on the tin. It was rich, tangy and perfectly balanced. Vault City are so very good. Leading the way in sour beers. And I must give honorable mention to Black Iris, one of my go-to breweries. Their Limp Bizcoff imperial stout was truly majestic. I hear that I Stick My Fingers Into My Mince Pies is on its way soon too, which is exciting news.

A brilliant line up of beers, food and music not much to write home about sadly, but it didn’t matter. Andy’s Low N Slow tacos looked tasty, but not enough to keep the average reveller fueled. We needed big food to soak all that up, so off we toddled into the sunset.

Beer Central is on again today in Digbeth. We Are Beer also runs festivals across the UK.

We were invited to attend Beer Central and received complimentary tickets, but my gushing appreciation of the beers is my honest record of events.


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

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