London Vegan Beer Festival
Posted on July 31st, 2013 · By admin
On one of the hottest days of the year we drank beer. Thanks to Fat Gay Vegan and Messy Vegetarian Cook who organised the first ever London Vegan Beer Festival. The event took place on the beautiful grounds of St. Marget’s House – The Gallery Café – and drew beer drinkers from all corners of London and the UK. You maybe a card-carrying member of CAMRA or you may just reach for the nearest lager every now and then. But when was the last time you attended a festival where you didn’t have to ask what’s in the beer or if the food is suitable for vegans. All the breweries at the festival only make vegan beer except Five Points, which also produce non-vegan beers. On the day we got to choose from a selection of beers provided by the following breweries: Daas, Hastings Brewery, Brass Castle Brewery, Pitfield Brewery, Brüpond Brewery, The Five Points Brewing Company, Moor Beer Company and Redchurch Brewery.
Five Points Brewing Company – London Vegan Beer Festival
Moor Beer Company – London Vegan Beer Festival
As a general rule cast conditioned beers/ales are not vegan or even vegetarian due to the fining process. Fining involves adding substances such as egg whites, isinglass, milk, blood, bentonite or gelatin to the beer during the last stage of the brewing process. These substances or agents bind to compounds in the beer, help speed up the sedimentation process and clarify the beer. However, not all beer is made using this process, Belgium and German beers are generally vegan as these countries prohibit the use of agents like isinglass and gelatin.
Redchurch Brewery – London Vegan Beer Festival
Brüpond Brewery – London Vegan Beer Festival
Half of the beers on offer I’d tried before so it was great to try a few new ones. And many of the breweries are local so it’s easy to find their beer. London is having a bit of a beer renaissance at the moment with a total of 50 breweries at last count up from 32 last year. So it’s no surprise that so many of the breweries at the fest hailed from East London. Redchurch is just around the corner in Bethnal Green, Brüpond Brewery is in Leyton, Pitfield Brewery is in Essex (but use to be on Pitfield Street in N1) and Five Points Brewing Company is in Dalston.
Art direction – London Vegan Beer Festival
London Vegan Beer Festival
With the explosion of the craft beer scene the London Vegan Beer Festival is well situated. By all accounts this year’s festival was a success. I’m sure they have already started the thirsty work of preparing for the next festival. I can’t wait see what Fat Gay Vegan and Messy Vegetarian have in store for the 2nd London Vegan Beer Festival.
London Vegan Beer Festival
VegFest 2013 Photos
Posted on June 10th, 2013 · By admin
Nakd VegFest 2013
Fry’s UK VegFest 2013
Lush VegFest 2013
Vegetarian Food Studio VegFest 2013
Good Hemp VegFest 2013
Fresh Therapies VegFest 2013
BUAV VegFest 2013
Beond VegFest 2013
The Chocolatier VegFest 2013
Ms Cupcake VegFest 2013
Fry’s behind the scenes
Ms. Cupcake N Crew behind the scenes
Poseidon at Broad Quay
This is Bristol
Posted on June 10th, 2013 · By admin
All aboard! VegFest 2013
On 24May 2013 with a sense of foreboding we cycled across London to Paddington Station to board the 11.30am train to Bristol Temple Meads Station. A temperature of 11C and lashing wind and rain brought murkiness to what should have been a beautiful spring day. “Ugh! This weather is going to ruin VegFest”, I thought.
Seated in the cosy confines of our First Great Western booth we tried to forget about the weather. To the left and to the right we passed field upon field of shocking yellow oilseed rape. Is rape the only thing that will grow well in this weather?
As we stopped at each station I couldn’t help noticing the passengers wearing puffa jackets, a lady wearing sheepskin gloves and men with hats pulled down so low as to almost cover their eyes. But I needn’t have worried because by the time we got down to Bristol the storm had passed.
Vegfest is Europe’s and perhaps the world’s biggest vegan lifestyle event of the year. On the second bank holiday weekend in May the veggie and the veggie curious descend on Bristol’s Harbourside for a weekend of music, speakers, comedy, demos, food stalls workshops and films.
We first attended VegFest when it was known as The Vegan Fayre. So it was great to be back for the 10th year anniversary and to be on the other side of the stall at the Fry’s stand. Some of you might remember that we attended Animal Aid’s Xmas Fayre with Fay Gay Vegan and Josh as Pat and Lisa Drummy had to make a trip to South Africa during this time and couldn’t attend. Prior to working at the fayre we were asked to do a bit of recipe development to illustrate how you could prepare Fry’s products in fun and festive ways in the run up to the holiday party season. It was lovely to hang out with the Fry’s team and get the full-on experience of cooking up and handing out samples for an entire weekend. It was fun, but it sure was thirsty work.
As it was a working weekend for us we spent most of our time under the big tent (the main marquee). Tim, VegFest show founder and organiser, has done a great job. This year’s event was bigger and better than ever. Lots of food producers were on hand to give out samples and special offers. Fry’s, Vegusto, Natural Balance, Goodlife Foods, Moo Free Chocolate Company, Goody Good Stuff, Good Hemp, Ms. Cupcake, The Cat and the Cream, Sheese, Gusto Organic, Samuel Smith Brewery, Koko Dairy Free, Riverford Organic, Razzle Dazzle Ices, Pulsin’, The Chocolatier, The Heavenly Cake Company, Wheaty, Yaoh just to name a few.
Before the show kicked off and it started to get really busy, I took the opportunity to take some photos of some of the people behind the brands you know and love.
As I was making the rounds I bumped into the Happy Cow, yes the purple Happy Cow of internet fame. Well, a very tall person dressed in a purple cow costume, very hard to miss. Happy Cows are also one of the most helpful cows you’ll ever hope to meet. When you have a trip planned to say Bratislava, Happy Cow is the first port of call to find out where all the good veggie and vegan cafés, restaurants and health food stores are.
Huge surges of attendees were now crowding the isles and by the time I thought about getting a photo the Happy Cow had moved on. And I had to get back to the stall. So I missed my photo opportunity.
To see more photos check out the gallery.
The Vegan Lifestyle Isn’t All About Food
It wasn’t all about the food. Wills Vegan Shoes, Ecotricity, Fresh Therapies, Lush, Neal’s Yard Remedies, Living Naturally, Jason, Ethical Investors, Sea Shepherd UK, Animal Aid, BUAV, and many, many other exhibiters were on hand to sell their products or promote their mission.
The exhibition floor was buzzing and when I did a quick whiz around the demo, talk, and workshop areas they were well attended too. The energy from the day’s program couldn’t help, but carry over into the evening’s entertainment. And what an impressive music lineup it was. The musical talent included The Happy Mondays, Caravan Palace, The Farm, 808 State, Peter Hook, club Yeyo, The Abyssinians, Macka B, Kitten and the Hip and the Boxettes.
The VegFest team clearly demonstrated that they have a talent for organizing multifaceted events.
Here are the stats from the VegFest Bristol homepage. I’d be surprised if this wasn’t the best-attended event yet.
“20,000 visit VegfestUK Bristol 2013
Massive thank you to all our visitors to this years event – once gain we were blessed by the weather for the weekend, although Friday was little challenging.
Here’s the approx breakdown for your info
Friday evening 2,800
Saturday Daytime 5,100
Saturday evening 3,600
Sunday Daytime 7,400
Big thanks to all our stallholders and sponsors, speakers and entertainers, all our contractors and all our volunteers and supporters, as well as the authorities – you have been sublime.”
If you have never attended a VegFest before I hope this post intrigued you enough to want to attend the next one. If it’s been a while since you last attended, it’s a great time to return as the festival gets bigger and better every year. The first ever London show will take place in October so you don’t want to miss it.
We’ll see you there.
Chicago Veggie Fest 2012
Posted on August 29th, 2012 · By admin
Chicago Veggie Fest Challenge
Chicago Veggie Fest 2012
By Heather Pinkett (guest blogger)
Expecting a small festival with a few food vendors and information booths, I drove 1.5 hrs outside of Chicago into the burbs. Veggie Fest 2012 pleasantly surprised me, with more than 50 tents and booths erected on a large plot of land in Naperville, IL. This Chicago vegetarian/vegan festival proved to be a cornucopia of food and fun.
From the animal friendly veg hipsters to health conscious locals, the field was crowded Sunday afternoon with hundreds of participants carrying free canvas green and yellow promo bags filled with vegetarian snacks.
Chicago Veggie Fest Poster
The focus of this year’s event was “Take the Vegetarian Challenge”, where at the main booth participants could pledge to eat vegetarian for a week. For those who have a hard time transitioning into vegetarian cooking, there was even a vendor that would make the transition easy by delivering everything you need to make delicious vegetarian dinners from scratch (Meezmeals).
Chicago Veggie Fest Eat Vegan on $4 a Day
Chicago Veggie Fest Talks
Chicago Veggie Fest 1st Art Show
Veggie Fest also provided food demos, notably Ellen Jones author of Eat Vegan on $4.00 a Day: A Game Plan for the Budget Conscious Cook. Ellen started out with her motto “ beans, grains and greens” recommending listeners buy “dry and in bulk” for the best discounts. As a daughter and niece of breast cancer survivors, her life focus became how to avoid breast cancer. While preparing a dish for the audience, she shares how she made the decision to look at her current eating habits and embark on a diet without meat. Through her interactions with converts, she finds that long term vegans have a better success rate if becoming vegan is associated with health issues.
Chicago Veggie Fest Justice for Animals
Chicago Veggie Fest 2012 Live Music
For Ellen, the biggest complaint was from individuals who are trying to convert to a vegan lifestyle is the expense of being vegan. At this demo, Ellen made load ’em up tortillas with fire roasted tomatoes, rice, flour tortes, mushrooms, green onions, carrots, salad, with the objective of eating all the colors of the rainbow. The audience appreciated snacking on the samples passed around while asking questions that ranged from cooking a balanced protein filled meal to discount shopping tips.
While the talks were great, clearly the main attraction is the food at Veggie Fest! With an eclectic mix of international foods, I sampled Indian, Japanese and American cuisine with plenty of desserts to please the pallet. There were also vendor food products sold at Veggie Fest where I nibbled on Carne De Soya Soy meat (Mexican vegetarian cuisine) or chewed on a handful of hemp pellets (not so tasty). After perusing my options, I devoured sushi from Sensei’s Veggie Sushi Parlour and doubled back for the delectably seasoned kebabs’ at Sizzlin Veggie Kebabs’.
The festival had a great balance between food vendors, educational tents, how to go vegan and compassionate choices. Not to forget about the social aspects of being a vegetarian, the festival came complete with The Chicago Vegetarian Society for those looking to attend events and make connections with other vegan/vegetarian members.
There was also a children’s tent, meditation center and even live music with the Giving Tree Band. The day was filled with delectable vegan goodies and plenty of entertainment and educational activities. Well worth the drive to Veggie Fest 2012
Chicago Veggie Fest Sushi
Chicago Veggie Fest Kabobs