There are many things which make living in our nation’s capital great, but for us Joes there aren’t many bigger pluses to London than the vast array of microbreweries which have swept the city in the last decade. Here’s some of the best of them!
The Howling Hops in Hackney Wick begins our tour of breweries in London and it’s a cracker. The UK’s first dedicated tank bar serves beer directly from tanks in the brewery rather than your usual cask, keg or bottle. In this case, there’s 10 tanks serving 10 different beers behind a 10m long bar. That means it’s fresher and crisper than most breweries you’ll head to. There’s great food on offer too with staples like sausage rolls, roasts and grilled cheese sandwiches. A warning: this place can get busy and the Howling Hops long tables and sharing benches can get taken pretty quickly. But there’s plenty of room inside and out to stand and the atmosphere more than makes up for it.
Must Try: Howling Pils, 4.6%
For something further South, Brixton homes one of the smaller brewery bars on our list. The Brixton Brewery opens its door to Joes and Janes every Saturday and we love it for a quick pint before some food at Brixton Village Market. The brewery is only open from around midday til 4 or 5 but stopping by is well worth it for a brew or if only to restock your fridge!
Must Try: Effra Ale, 4.5%
Now to our first stop in London’s brewery mecca, Bermondsey. The area is perfect for Joes who want an afternoon of drinking as six microbreweries are now based in the area, stretching from South Bermondsey to London Bridge. Like most breweries on the ‘Bermondsey Mile’, Partizan Brewing is location under a rail archway offering a full range of crafts, from IPAs to stouts, and they sometimes like to get creative with brews like Lemongrass Saison. They also bottle their beer with some of the most artistic labels you’ll ever see. The brewery bar is open Saturdays 11am – 5pm.
Must Try: Saison Falconers, 6.7%
Wild Card Brewery
For one of London’s best hidden microbrewery gems, Joes should head to the middle of a small industrial estate in up-and-coming Walthamstow, which homes a gin palace, Europe’s biggest collection of neon lighting and signage, and the Wild Card Brewery. The brewery was only set up in early 2014 but has quickly become a firm favourite with locals. The brewery’s tap bar is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday until late and has plenty in the way of space which means it’s perfect for a night out. Wild Card hold events throughout the year and there’s virtually always good food being served alongside the incredibly good beer.
Must Try: Jack of Clubs, 4.5%
Founded in December 2013, Brick Brewery in the heart of Peckham Rye is as micro-y as they come, producing just 10 brewers barrels of beer per brew supplying local bars, pubs, restaurants and delis. Their Brewery Tap room holds regular events and is perfect for a night up the ‘pub.’ Open Thursdays 5-9pm; Fridays 5-10pm and Saturdays midday-10pm, any Joes near Peckham need to check this place out.
Must Try: Archway Steam, 4.8%
Anspach & Hobday
Another must-stop on the Bermondsey Mile is the famed Anspach & Hobday craft beer bar and brewery. Within short walking distance from The Shard and Tower Bridge, Anspach is the perfect way to start a night in the City or end the afternoon after a walk along the South Bank. Joes can expect a range of Anspach & Hobday brews, from IPAs and pale ales to stouts and porters with everything else in between. The bar itself is open Fridays until 9.30pm, Saturdays until 5.30pm and Sundays until 5pm. The arched taproom bar has a characteristic Bermondsey high-ceiling along with long wooden benches and tables.
Must Try: The Porter, 6.7%
Camden Town Brewery Bar
Believe it or not, despite being a staple of the London beer scene, Camden Town Brewery has only be around since 2010. But since its inception, Camden has become the third biggest beer producer in London by volume. Another railway arch brewery on our list, Camden Town’s HQ in Kentish Town West has already proved inadequate in size, and to demonstrate the point, even the fermentation tanks have had to be moved outside just to get the volume of punters in. The brewery has plenty going on with murals and edgy artwork prominent throughout, as well as an array of street food being served outside. The Camden Town Brewery Bar is open daily except on Mondays and is always open until at least 9pm.
Must Try: Camden Hells Lager, 4.6%
The final brewery on our list is a gem – albeit probably the epitome of hipster London. Located on the banks of the Lea Navigation in Hackney Wick, Crate Brewery doubles up as a pizzeria and brewery all in one. The old factory warehouse space reeks of craft beer (figuratively) and everyone in this place will be twice as good looking as you, but that’s not to say it isn’t charming and doesn’t serve damn good pizza and even better beer. There’s live jazz on certain nights and the outside seating area by the river is probably the best on our list. A word of warning: toilets here are unisex. We did say it was hipster…
Must Try: Crate Golden, 3.8%