If, like me, you are a proud Reading resident you will no doubt be familiar with two of our local treasures – The Grumpy Goat beer and cheese shop and South Streets Arts Centre. If, also like me, you’re hoping for a ground-breaking scientific discovery revealing how to live solely on a diet of delicious craft beer, then you will be thrilled to hear the two venues are once again collaborating for Craft Theory 2019, their third annual craft beer and music festival.
Craft Theory is a celebration of music, craft beer and street food hosting an impressive 14 craft breweries for us to sample. The line up so far includes breweries from Berkshire, the UK and Europe, including Reading’s recently opened Double-Barrelled Brewery, London’s Brew By Numbers and the Dutch brewer-in-a-windmill Brouwerij De Molen.
Adding to the festival vibe is tempting street food, quality DJs, and a high-spirited, friendly crowd – if this sounds good to you, then read on for our guide to the Craft Theory beer and music festival 2019.
When and where is Craft Theory?
Craft Theory will be held at South Street Arts Centre, South Street over the Easter weekend, that’s Friday 19 – Saturday 20 April.
There are four separate sessions, which is one more than last year to reward our loyalty and thirst. Please note that only the Friday day session is family friendly, the rest are over 18s only.
- Friday 19 April, 12-5pm (Family friendly)
- Friday 19 April, 6-11pm
- Saturday 20 April, 12-5pm
- Saturday 20 April, 7-12am
How much are tickets and where do I buy them?
Tickets are £15 which includes a branded Craft Theory glass. You then buy beers individually.
For the Friday family session, under 5s go in for free and 5 – 17 year olds are just £2 (both of these options do not – hopefully for obvious reasons – include a glass in the price).
All ticket sales also include a 50p donation to the fantastic local charity Reading Soup who raise money to direct into worthwhile causes in our community.
Which breweries will be there?
Local champions Siren Craft, winners of the Champion Beer of Britain 2018 for their Broken Dream Breakfast Stout, always have a big presence. They will be pouring alongside Bristol’s super cool Left Handed Giant, as well as Reading newbies Double-Barrelled who are keen to add to the growing local beer scene.
Also loved locally are Elusive Brewing, recognisable for their retro gaming theme and diverse range of beers. Our Silchester-based Wild Weather Ales will also be there serving up unique and funky flavours (one of my personal favourites is their Jam on Toast brown ale – fingers crossed I’ll be seeing it this year).
From elsewhere around the UK, Little Earth Project from Suffolk will be serving up deliciously sustainable sours, Beatnikz Republic Brewing Co. bring us a bit of colour from their Manchester microbrewery. while Bermondsey’s Brew by Numbers are bringing a selection of their 300+ beers over from London
Sussex-based UnBarred will be delivering punchy flavours, hop-forward tastiness comes from Eight Arch Brewing Co from Dorset and Magic Rock Brewery bring us American style ales brewed in Huddersfield.
The farthest flung breweries are Brouwerij De Molen, who will be transporting us to the Netherlands with their progressive brews dreamt up in a windmill, and Copenhagen’s young gypsy brewery To Øl Beer.
So far, the breweries pouring over the weekend make for a formidable line-up, and there’s a few more still to be announced.
What else is there to do?
As well as tasting the beers, Craft Theory is also a unique opportunity to meet the brewers. One of my favourite things about the festival is being able to chat to the masterminds behind the barrels. For a sneak peek of this inside info check out the Craft Theory Facebook page where you can read stories from a selection of the brewers in advance.
Of course, no festival is complete without food and music. There will be street food stalls serving up grub to eat on the go and soak up all that beer: this year look out for new street food creations from Reading’s best new restaurant Clay’s Hyderabadi Kitchen, vegan pies and mac’n’cheese from We Are Friends and stone baked pizzas from newcomers Pizza Gardeners.
There’ll also be DJs hitting the decks all weekend. The list of artists is also still to be announced – follow the social media for releases – but if the cast last year is any indication it will certainly not disappoint.
Anything else exciting I should know?
Yes! To celebrate the third Craft Theory festival, five of Reading’s local breweries (Elusive, Siren Craft, Wild Weather Ales, Double-Barrelled, and West Berkshire Brewery) have come together in an epic union to create a special collaboration Craft Theory Festival beer.
This year there will also be a series of fringe events taking place at pubs across Reading, including at The Nag’s Head, The Fox & Hounds and Double-Barrelled Brewery. The full line up is below.
Craft Theory Fringe Events list!!! All venues will also be supporting our festival charity @ReadingSoup So drink awesome beer, have a great time and most of all dig deep!!!😍😎🤪 #festivalfringeevents #ourcommunity #ticketsstillavailable #rdguk pic.twitter.com/mWFZM1BlxN
— Craft Beer & Music (@CraftTheoryFest) April 5, 2019
Get more information and announcements over the coming weeks on the Craft Theory website.
You can also sign up to volunteer to help at the festival.
See you there!
Ellie Rapley moved to Reading as a student many moons ago and hasn't wanted to leave since. She's on the committee of Katesgrove Community Association, loves cycling (mostly around the pubs of the Ale Trail) and eating all the food.