There's no shortage of pubs in London. From traditional boozers to speakeasy-style bars, the city offers a heady selection of watering holes in which to sink a pint. And the capital is currently going through something of a craft beer revolution with a focus on microbrews and local ales. Quench your thirst with this guide to London's craft beer scene and plot a self-guided pub crawl to taste the best brews in town.
Cheers to that!
London's Craft Beer Breweries
Founded in 2013 by two hop-loving home brewers, this west London brewery was founded in 2013 and produces experimental, hand-crafted beer. The core line up includes the popular Five O'Clock Shadow, an American-style 7% ABV IPA and seasonal beers are produced throughout the year including Black Christmas, a festive stout brewed with cranberries.
Inspired by Brooklyn brews, Beavertown Brewery owner Logan Plant (the son of Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant) first started brewing using a 50 liter rice pan at home before opening a small brew house in Duke's Brew and Que restaurant in 2011. The brewery now operates from an industrial estate in Tottenham and sells cans and bottles emblazoned with arguably the coolest designs in town.
Under a railway arch in south London's Herne Hill, Canopy Beer produces small-batch beers named after local areas including Brockwell IPA and Milkwood Amber.
The Tap Room serves brews made on site and there's an outdoor seating area where occasional street food pop-ups sell snacks.
Named after Redchurch Street in Shoreditch, this east London brewery produces bottles with names that celebrate the local area like Hoxton Stout, Brick Lane Lager and Bethnal Pale Ale.
Head to the mezzanine bar above the brewing equipment to taste your way through the menu. Food stalls often set up shop out front and there are regular live bands and DJs.
Take a Craft Beer Brewery Tour in London
See how top beers including Camden Hells Lager and Camden Pale Ale are brewed by joining a tour of the Camden Town Brewery in Kentish Town. Either drop in on a Saturday between 1 and 2 p.m. for a 30-minute informal tour or book a tour in advance on Thursday or Saturday for a more in-depth look at brewing techniques and the chance to taste several beers straight from the tank.
Between Thursday and Sunday, London Fields Brewery open their doors to offer an insight into how their award-winning beers are produced. The tours take around an hour and include a tutored beer tasting in the Tap Room. Upgrade to a Craft Brewery Experience for a hands-on brewing demonstration and a three-course beer and food pairing meal.
Hop-loving hipsters flock to this waterfront bar and pizzeria near the Olympic Stadium to sup beers brewed on site. See how they're made with a tour of the Brewshed to learn about the brewing process, sample hops and malt and enjoy a number of tastings.
One of the pioneers of London's craft beer scene, the Meantime Brewing Company was set up in 2000 and the brewery's core beers, including London Lager and London Pale Ale are stocked in hundreds of pubs across the capital. The brewery tours at their sizable site in Greenwich start or finish with a tutored tasting and there's a shop and a bar on site.
Where to Drink Craft Beer in London
With a stellar location right on the South Bank, this stylish bar is part of the National Theatre and is a top spot for pre- or post-theatre refreshments. Sip a pint from a London brewery (the bar stocks brews from Five Points Brewing Co and Redchurch Brewery among others) and soak up views of the River Thames. There are plenty of sliders on offer to pair with drinks.
In a railway arch in Bethnal Green, this New York-inspired tap room and shop stocks an impressive array of beers brewed in the capital and across the globe. The menu of beers available on tap changes regularly and there are 19 taps serving all sorts of different styles, including limited edition brews. Sharing plates are available and street food vendors congregate outside every weekend.
This handsome Georgian pub in Islington is a popular spot for serious beer drinkers. The keg and cask line up changes regularly but the menu features around 18 different beers at any one time, many of which are brewed in London. Food is served all day and all dishes include beer matching suggestions.
Given its Covent Garden location and impressive beer selection (including 10 hand pumps), the crowds at the Harp often spill out into the street. If you can make it to the bar, order a classic cask ale or one of the rotating guest brews and pair with a hearty bar snack.