In the last 20 years, London has seen amazing growth in its brewing business from just two breweries in the late 90s to more than fifty right now. Virtually all of these new businesses are small, independent and produce high-quality, exciting styles of beer – a strategy to brewing which has been given the catch-all moniker ‘craft’. Taking their lead from the craft-brewing business that skyrocketed in the United States in the early nineties, these companies are eschewing the large-scale market to appeal directly to critical beer enthusiasts. Here is a definitive guide to drinking your ways around London’s brew scene.
Lowlander – A great London Beer
This particular Belgian bar is the mecca for lovers of foreign beers. The bar is stocked high with a wide range of various beers from all over the globe including a good collection of wheat and fruit beers, if you fancy for something slightly different.
Ye Old Mitre – Best London Beer in a Great Pub
This spot is a bit of a secret – and all the best for it. It’s a beautiful pub with an interesting history (it is still owned by the Cambridgeshire law enforcement)… and clearly, great beer.
Managed by Utobeer, who sell foreign beer in Borough Market, the range of beer from around the globe at this pub is simply fabulous – 130 bottled beers and 2 pumping systems that have different beers each day. High-priced, but well worth it.
May often be a bit crowded as people chill after a day of looking around (or working at) Borough Market, but it really is worth finding an empty corner. It has got a terrific Real Ale section, such as Barnsley Gold, Kelham Island Pale Rider and Titanic New World.
The Old Coffee House
When you’re just getting started, this Beak Street boozer may seem identical to its Soho competitors. Its 18th-century interior is furnished with tourist-titillating vintage tat. Almost inaudibly, pop and R&B music nag on in the background while, on a single wall, a muted TV relays the Sky Sport News headlines. Nevertheless, it has 1 crucial thing going in its favor: it is run by Brodie’s. The Leyton microbrewery is one of the capital’s most advanced breweries and the Coffee House highlights a large range of their fine beers.
The Queen’s Head
Situated on a peaceful residential street near King’s Cross, the hops and pump clips that enhance this Victorian boozer serve notice of its dedication to good beer. Three cask pumping systems will please the Camra purists, while the keg lines offer rather a lot more unique beers. The “ever-expanding bottle list” is similarly strange and excellent, taking in, as it does, smoked porters, oatmeal stouts, black IPAs and saisons, from the likes of London’s 5 Points and Brew By Numbers, as well US trend-setters Brooklyn and Redhook.