7 PLACES TO GET THE BEST BEER IN TOWN
Gone are the days when enjoying a beer meant searching all over London for something out of the ordinary. These days there are fantastic breweries popping up in a variety of places, each offering something unique. With so many flavour profiles and techniques on show, you can now savour a beer like you would a fine wine. This is definitely worth celebrating and 4 August – International Beer Day – is just the time to do it. So much choice means you need to go to the right place, so make sure you include one of the following in your next visit to London.
CRAFT BEER COMPANY
In 2011 when two friends wanted to recreate old school pub values, they were actually pretty forward thinking. This is how the Craft Beer Company came about and now you can experience that ethos in its venues around the capital. Stop by one of the brand’s pubs in locations as diverse as Covent Garden, St Mary Axe and Islington for rare beers sourced from all over the country and other parts of the world. As well as a fantastic array of beer, you will find welcoming spaces, with comfortable yet chic décor.
OLD RED COW
Harking back to beer houses of the 18th century, which were set up to rival gin parlours, you will find a sense of tradition in The Old Red Cow. Describing itself as a beer delicatessen, you are sure to discover something that even the most well-heeled craft beer fans haven’t tried yet. Among the biggest selections of beer in London are stouts and porters; Belgian-style brews and pale ales; and wheat and fruit beers. That means you will be able to enjoy exactly the right drinks to suit your palate.
The distinctive curve of the Waterloo Tap, which is located inside a railway arch, will draw you into its embrace. Once inside, you will be able to pick from a constantly-changing selection of 20 kegs and six casks. While you may recognise some well-known American and European beers, it’s those sourced from other parts of the UK that you should take the opportunity to sample. If you are unsure of which beers to order, ask for some pointers from the staff, who will be able to help you whittle the extensive list down to a few to get you started.
EALING PARK TAVERN
It’s not surprising that the hospitality at the Ealing Park Tavern is spot on, as the site was once a coaching inn and has therefore been welcoming visitors for centuries. Add an on-site microbrewery and you have the recipe for an establishment you won’t want to leave. The Long Arm Brewing Company creates four core beers on a permanent basis, as well as seasonal additions. Be sure to try the Peacemaker, a summer brew that incorporates elderflower and champagne yeast. If you have an inquisitive side and would like to find out more about how such beers are made, then brewery tours can be arranged.
Choose from a selection of 12 beers at Heist Bank, including the house lager, and soak up the atmosphere in a chic industrial-style space by the Union Canal. There are regular favourites on tap and two dedicated taps for guest brews, which rotate, meaning there’s always something new to try. Alternatively, turn to the fridge for lots of choice from within London and a little further afield. The emphasis is on small and independent operations, so expect not to have heard of many of the bottles and enjoy a pleasant surprise.
THE ITALIAN JOB
If you like your beer with an Italian accent, then there’s one place you really can’t miss on your visit to London and that’s The Italian Job. Its entire range – including ten taps and two hand-pulls – is sourced from a country that has whole-heartedly embraced the craft beer movement. You can travel across its provinces and styles without leaving London and enjoy the crisp European surroundings. Soon you will be wishing that everywhere sold smoked stout from Milan!
EARL OF ESSEX
As soon as you spot something you like the sound of on the huge list of beers at the Earl of Essex, be sure to order it, as things change pretty quickly at this popular pub. The bar hosts 11 kegs and five or six beers on cask at any one time, means there is usually something for everyone. To enhance the sense of place, opt for something from Earl’s Brewery, as it is created on site. Then move on to beers from London, then further north and eventually overseas for a well-rounded experience.
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