If there’s any city in the world that knows how to have a good time, it’s London. Safe to say that over the centuries this city has certainly enjoyed the odd pint or two. But in recent years beer has undergone a total transformation. Once again London is at the heart of it all where a growing number of breweries are producing top quality beers.
So just where should you take your tasting glass? Here’s our rundown of London’s 14 best craft beer breweries.
London Fields Brewery – Hackney
It might have been 100 years since Hackney had its own commercial brewery but frankly, it was well worth the wait (and after all that time the locals were pretty damn thirsty). London Fields are right at the forefront of everything that is cool about craft beer, but it’s not just the style or even their brilliant taproom, they really have got the taste right. Here’s to the next 100 years!
Best Brew – Hackney Hopster, 4.2% – A light pale ale with passionfruit and citrus notes.
Gipsy Hill Brewing – Gipsy Hill
Born from the shared dreams of two like-minded beer lovers, what started out as half batch brewing has grown into a great community business that really does have the community at its core. They’ve created a great following, opened a taproom and run a variety of local events. Passionate and inventive there’s always another beer coming along to be sampled which makes them so exciting.
Best Brew – Hepcat, 4.6% – With a very pleasant, tropical tickle and orange notes it’s one for the beer garden.
Camden Town Brewery – Camden
One of the undisputed leaders of the craft beer movement, Camden beer is becoming increasingly easy to find away from the capital (great for us country folk), but it’s best enjoyed in Camden itself. Completely unpretentious and genuine about their passion for brewing and quest for the perfect pint, if you want to experience them at their best head to their Brewery Bar (home of the original Hells lager).
Best Brew– Hells, 4.6% – The original and still their best work. A top-class beer all others can be measured against.
Redchurch Beer- Canning Town
Redchurch like to keep life simple and beer flavoursome. We can’t vouch for simplicity, but we can state that we’d skip naked across the M25 on a Bank Holiday Monday to sample their finest ales (don’t try that at home kids, although it’ll probably be gridlock so the traffic won’t be moving much). Keep an eye out for their ‘experimental beers’ which rarely disappoint.
Best Brew – Shoreditch Blonde, 4.5% – A gorgeous long-legged blonde to be seen out with on a Friday night.
Beavertown Brewery – Tottenham
As well as winning kudos for being one of our favourite looking beers (ever!), we also love their Saturday hangout taproom. They make beer fun and interesting, but most of all they make beer taste great with a cheeky inventiveness which is so much more than just labels and funny tweets. Quality beer with a smile. And sometimes life doesn’t need much more than that.
Best Brew – Gamma Ray, 5.4% – If you were to put a laser gun to our head and tell us to pick one, it would be this tropical tipple.
Weird Beard Brew Co – Osterly
Not all breweries are created equal and we don’t know what it is (the lack of razors?) but there’s something truly outstanding about a company that lead the way in inventive brewing. Eye-catching, mouth-watering, thirst-quenching, conversation-starting, you soon run out of superlatives for a company that consistently delivers flavour with every new beer.
Best Brew – Five O’clock Shadow – 7.0% – The heavy alcohol content will also put hairs on your chest but it’s the flavour that really wins.
Fourpure Brewing Co – Bermondsey
Completely unshowy and without any hint of pretention, Fourpure has been making top quality beer in the most seemingly simple of locations. It’s already gaining a wider audience and their taproom is well worth a visit. It’s also worth mentioning their excellent blog which is great reading for people who love beer and life in general.
Best Brew – Indy Lager, 4.4% – Like summer in a can, it’s an-afternoon-beside-the-Thames-watching-the-world-go-by kind of drink.
Brew By Numbers (BB№) – Bermondsey
Or as we call them, ‘BBYes’. They do beer. They don’t do stunts. They don’t make broad claims or shout the loudest. They do beer and they do it ruddy well. They also happen to do nice big bottles, which means fewer trips to the bar or less getting off the sofa, it’s another factor they seem to have lovingly thought of (thanks fells) but mostly these guys are about flavour.
Best Brew – Witbier, 5.0% – They do a range of flavours, but we’d go for the ‘Classic’ every time.
Hop Stuff Brewery – Abbeywood
Beer makes us smile. It’s one of its best qualities. Hop Stuff makes every man smile. Whose face wouldn’t light up at the sight of a Land Rover fitted with a selection of beer taps?!? It’s this kind of creativity that they pour into every can and bottle. One thing we also love is their inclusive idealism, you don’t need to be a hipster to enjoy their beer, you just need to like beer.
Best Brew – Short & Stout, 4.8% – Not everyone can pull off a stout, but Hop Stuff have absolutely nailed it!
Sambrook’s Brewery – Battersea
Mini-keg. That’s all. Get to their brilliant shop, talk to their friendly team, grab a mini-keg, get home, turn off the phone, stick on your favourite movie (the superlative The Goonies, naturally) and enjoy life. If you are one of those social types it’ll also make you very welcome at any gathering. It’s proper beer that tastes of hundreds of years of beer genius distilled in glass.
Best Brew – Red Ale, 5.0% – A no nonsense ale with a hint of caramel and rich malty flavour.
Brixton Brewery – Brixton
Beer done the old way, passionate artisans, brewing in small batches to ensure that every glass is packed with flavour, Brixton Brewery has taken their passion and is filling glasses with it. They even use hops that are grown in Brixton. Yes, you read that right, London grown hops in London brewed beer. It takes ‘buying local’ to a whole new level for city beer drinkers.
Best Brew – Atlantic A.P.A., 5.4% – Crisp with a slight fruitiness, a wonderfully refreshing taste.
Meantime Brewing – Blackwall
According to founder Alistair Hook, “Great beer is at the heart of everything we do.” and we believe them. Having been born in 1999, well before craft beer became trendy, they’ve spent 20 years perfecting their beers and that has most definitely been time well spent. Have we saved the best brewery until last? We’ll let you decide.
Best Brew – London Pale Ale, 4.3% – A very easy to drink ale with a light, citrus flavour.
Five Points Brewing Co – Hackney
If you can find Five Points on tap then you’re a lucky man. If not, don’t panic because these star brewers can be found to take away at an ever-growing number of quality locations or you can order cans and bottles direct online. If you are more of a sit-down kind of a guy then you can sample their wares at their very own pub, The Pembury Tavern. And a very fine establishment it is too!
Best Brew – Five Points Pale, 4.4% – With a crisp, Californian taste, it’s perfect with a BBQ.
Toast – Southwark
Toast takes the greatest thing since sliced bread… well, actually it is bread, surplus bread, which they turn into everyone’s favourite beverage. Not only is the end result brilliant (seriously, you have to try Toast beer!), but it’s a really eco-friendly way of tackling the issue of waste food and overproduction. Yet another reason to love this fantastic, delicious beer. This really is beer with heart from a company fighting climate change (brewed in Yorkshire but the company is based in London).
Best Brew – Much Kneaded, 5% – A wonderfully refreshing lager with a smooth, cool finish.