Where The Heart Is – East West Fest

If I was young, I’d flee this town, I’d bury my dreams underground. As did I, we drink to die, we drink tonight….” “Elephant Gun” – Beirut

Love. It feels strange to me to talk about love in relation to beer. I’m careful with words. In the words of the mighty General Public, “… words, like conviction, can turn into a sentence…” But I am in love with something beery.

And that something is East West Fest.

It’s an event that stirs my soul. An event where I can get together with some truly lovely people. People who trusted me enough to travel from as far as Somerset. To a Red Shed. In Wakefield. To drink beer.

Wakefield Labour Club (aka The Red Shed) is – for me – the place where my fondest (non family) memories have been made. Laughs have been prolonged and from the depths of me. I’ve cried, both with laughter and otherwise. Some of the silliest, daftest memories.

Those memories are lodged. They’ll never fade. All because of a little beer event. And the friends I share it with. It’s always about who you share these things with. Beer without friends is just liquid. With friends it is so much more.

Myself and my dear friend Jaz have been coming to Wakefield since Year 1. In 2015. And year after year those memories keep stacking up.

Who said that drinking an “Anti Imperialist Double IPA” for 3 hours straight was clever? Nobody. But it was ludicrously good. And I never forgot that. Nor the year that my friends trusted me enough to come over for a night (ever since, they’ve stayed the whole weekend). For the beer, yes (more on that later), but – again – for the simple pleasures of drinking great beer. With friends. Beer that becomes greater – in the memory – because of experiencing it with those lovely people.

I digress…..

I’ve always been immensely flattered to remember Malcolm (the evil genius behind East West) saying that the first ISBF inspired him to start his own event. For charity. (Yes. ALL profits go to charity). To get beer from the best breweries from both East and West of the Pennines. In Cask. Abv no barrier. Just flavour.

East West has – I imagine – one of the higher average abv line ups. Malcolm likes it that way. The Yorkshire breweries come up with some belters. For Malcolm. I source the beers from the West. And we do get some quite bonkers things in Cask. (Pretty sure we had an Elderflower Imperial Blond one year from this side – can you guess who from?)

East West is fairly unique. Nobody else would DARE do what Malcolm does.

It’s where my beery heart lies. ISBF doesn’t come close. This is where I can let me be me. Let my “hair” down. No need to wear a certain t-shirt. No need to advertise. Just enjoying 3 days of bacchanalia.

This years event starts on Thursday 5th May. Next Thursday. My buddies and I booked our rooms the moment Malcolm said it was a goer (we *may*have nudged him a bit!)

There is a rather exceptional beer list.

And it’s all taking place in a little Red Shed.

Come and join us. Who knows. After 10pm – on any given night – I might spill some ISBF secrets. This one might get a little emotional….

Here’s the list.


Mallinsons – Dirty Electro – NEIPA – 5.5%

Five Towns – Its No Game Pt 1 – Centennial IPA – 6.7%

North Riding – Extra Special Mild – 6%

Blue Bee – US 5 Hop v53 – Pale – 4.3%

Turning Point – Thinking Through Soup – South Pacific Pale – 5.3%

Tigertops – Barley Wine – 10%

Fernandes – Memory of A Free Festival – Pale – 4.7%

Chin Chin – Stout – 4.5%

Revolutions – Fight The Power – Rye Altbier – 4.5%


Wilde Child – Flow Rider – Key Lime Cheesecake Sour – 4.9%


Marble x Brewsmith – Birthday Beer #1 – Oatmeal Pale – 4.3%

Redwillow – Double Heritage Porter (White Port Cask) – 8.8%

Black Jack – West Coast Pale       – WC Pale – 5.6%

Steelfish – TBC – Belgian BLOND – 7%

Torrside – Hogarth’s Junction – Botanical Imperial Stout – 9%

Pictish – El Dorado – Single Hop Pale – 4.4%

Tom’s Tap – Chevalier Victorian Mild – 5%

Runaway – Kolsch – Kolsch Style Lager – 4.8%

Neptune – Lorelei – German Pale – 3.5%


Rivington – Double Fog – DIPA – 8%