EAT YOUR WORLD

guides you to the best local dishes & drinks in
125+ cities.
See map now

Join the Project

EYW wants your food photos!

Food Memories

EYW wants your food stories!

Tsampa (Zanba)

Tibet
cherrycheng

The main ingredient of tsampa is barley flour. When eating, add a small amount of buttered tea, milk dregs, and sugar into the barley flour and mix them evenly, then knead it into a ball by hand. It... Read more

Write a Food Memory now

  • What to eat
  • How to burn it off
  • Where to Stay

<< back to foods in London

London craft beer

Local London craft beer from The Kernel brewery, from a pub in London, England

What: “Craft beer” is a U.S. term, but it’s catching on like wildfire in London and the rest of England, where more and more beer drinkers have made it clear they want more than just mass-market brands and the usual-suspect real ales at their local pub. Though there are no exact guidelines for what constitutes a craft beer here, they are generally defined by being handmade in small batches by small (micro)breweries, with more experimental tendencies in flavor and strength. In London proper, a handful of terrific craft brewers have appeared on the scene in the last decade, including Meantime Brewing Co—now pretty much a fixture on any good restaurant’s beer list—The Kernel, Brodie’s, Camden Town, and London Fields.

A note about craft beer vs. real ale: It’s a bit of a messy distinction, actually, because all craft beers are, by definition, small-production and handcrafted, and some are even brewed just like real ales: unfiltered (or lightly filtered), unpasteurized, re-fermented in a cask or bottle before consumption. The difference is that those craft beers not coming out of a cask are happily carbonated and served cold (though not ice-cold); moreover, craft beers in general tend to be much more experimental in flavor and style—after all, they’re not tied to any particular tradition. But while some craft-beer connoisseurs claim that real ale is no longer relevant in the U.K.—the term was coined in the ’70s to separate traditional, natural beer from big-brewer processed beer, the very same opponent that craft beer is up against today—we think the relevance lies in the word traditional. Real ale from a cask may not be any more “real” than a keg-pumped handcrafted microbrew, but it is essential to the U.K.’s gastronomic heritage. There’s something wonderful to be said for going to a pub and having all the options: old-school real ale, experimental craft brew, and, uh, mass-produced crud.

Where: While some breweries are open for visitors (see below), a good beer bar—several of which have recently opened in London—is a great way to try several microbrews in one go. Our photo is from Mason & Taylor (51-55 Bethnal Green Rd.), which unfortunately closed in September 2012. There are plans for a new location, but in its absence are many other terrific bars focusing on London-area craft beers (and beyond). We’re fans of Euston Tap (190 Euston Rd., map) at Euston train station, a tiny beer bar with big ambitions (and a heated garden) awesomely situated in a stone lodge-relic of the original 1830s-built station.

When: Euston Tap is open daily, noon-1am

Alternatively:

Visit a brewery: Every Saturday you can visit The Kernel (Arch 11 Dockley Rd., map) between 9am and 3pm; it makes a lovely stop at the weekly Maltby Street market, when the area’s other artisanal vendors open for business (see also: cheese toastie). Brodie’s (816 High Rd., map) has a 16-beer tap room (King William the Fourth) next-door to its brewery in Leyton; email or call to schedule a free tour of the brewery. Meantime (Blackwall Ln, map) offers a variety of tours for a fee (including £20 tours Thu-Fri at 7pm, Sun at 2pm, and six tours on Sat—you must pre-book), and Camden Town (55-59 Wilkin St. Mews, map) has an on-site brewery bar (open Thurs-Sat, noon-11pm), plus £12 tours every Thursday at 6pm and some Saturdays. In Hackney is the trendy London Fields microbrewery (369-370 Helmsley Pl., map), offering £10 small-group tours and tastings every Saturday at 1pm and 3pm. (Note: In 2017, this brewery was bought out by Carlsberg amid tax fraud allegations; check its Facebook page for current info on tastings.)

Other good beer bars: Opened in spring 2011, the Craft Beer Co. (82 Leather Ln, map) in Clerkenwell has quickly gained a reputation among London beer drinkers, with 16 casks, 300-plus bottles, and what it clams is the U.K.’s largest keg selection; while the bar does a lot of importing, London and U.K. independent microbrewers are always well represented. Its sister bar, Cask Pub & Kitchen (6 Charlwood St., map) in Pimlico is likewise a good bet, as is U.K.-microbrewery-focused The Southampton Arms (139 Highgate Rd., map) in Kentish Town (near Hampstead Heath). Draft House (multiple locations including 206-208 Tower Bridge Rd., map) near Tower Bridge is another solid beer bar that lets you taste in third-pints.


 

London Kindle Guide

Now on Amazon.com!

London Food & Travel Guide on Amazon.com

Download our new London Food & Travel Guide to your Kindle, smartphone, or tablet and get the inside scoop on the best British foods in London, plus a bonus restaurant guide and 7-day EYW itinerary. $3.99

Click here to buy

TRAVEL DEEPER THROUGH LOCAL FOOD

Sign up for monthly updates on new destinations + food stories.

Your personal info is private. We will not spam you.



Forgot password