The first Heist Bank Beer Festival was held in Paddington on the 14th and 15th October, bringing craft beer from around the world to a pizza and beer joint in London. A selection of over 100 beers from more than 30 breweries was pouring from keg and cask while workshops were held in the bar’s basement.

Heist Bank is a sleek city space with an industrial vibe and casual atmosphere. It boasts twelve taps for pints or growler fills and a wood fired oven for their house specialty, sourdough pizza. The space excludes quirky personality, jazzed up with a collection of generously scattered street art, and is complete with a fully-stocked games room downstairs.

It worked surprisingly well as a location for a beer festival, where cask beer was lined up in two areas perpendicular to the bar. The taps were subsidised by a second pop-up bar, where the classic Salty Kiss from Magic Rock Brewing Company rubbed shoulders with the Mormora Sour with Coffee from Cloudwater Brewing Co.

With a £15 ticket, attendees were given two tokens for cask beers and one for a slice of pizza, with the latter quickly flying out of the oven. The cask selection was truly the highlight of the event, with an impressive line-up and everything tasting superbly fresh. Following pints of Wylam Brewery’s Jakehead to Tiny Rebel Brewing Company’s Stay Puft, we were reticent to move on to keg, but we did find DEYA Brewing Company’s juicy Into the Haze was worth every cent.

Wild Beer Co hosted a workshop on blending during the Saturday evening session, giving attendees the chance to sample their beers while hearing about the complexities of barrel-aging and brewing with wild yeasts, two of the brewery’s benchmarks. As a special treat, a rare keg of Winter Blend 2015 was tasted, which had been magicked up for the occasion. It was a glorious beer with tartness from sour cherries, hints of vinegar acidity and generous berry flavours. On the nose was vinegar, berries and funk.

Pizza fresh from the oven was washed down with Pint from Marble Brewery while a DJ kept the atmosphere light. The festival was rightfully busy – with our session sold out – and impressed with its selection, which we were told had been curated by a Certified Cicerone on staff. Both the keg and cask lists were equally as appealing and the relaxed ambiance – and maybe the tasty pizza – won us over.

Thank you to the Heist Bank PR team for inviting me along to the Saturday evening session.

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