London for Beer Lovers

I recently wrote an article for Viator Travel about the beer scene in London, showing how it has been changing and developing in recent years. I mentioned some of the pubs and bars worth visiting for the best craft beers in the city, as well as a few to try. Here is part of the article – click here or the link at the bottom of the page to read the complete article on Viator.

London for Beer Lovers

Not so long ago London was seen as one of the worst beer cities in the country, with only a handful of breweries remaining, despite once being the brewing capital of the world and the birthplace of traditional beer styles such as porters, IPAs, and stouts. But now new beers and bars are starting to appear in every corner of the city as part of this craft beer explosion; there are now over 30 breweries in London, around 5 times more than in 2006, and this number is increasing rapidly.

Micro-breweries such as Redemption, Kernel, Brodie’s and Camden Town are experimenting with beer styles and creating a new wave of craft brews, making it an exciting time to sample what’s on offer, and London has something for everyone on a beery quest. Here are some ideas on where to find fine beer in London, which brews to try, and which breweries are worth a visit.

Craft Beer Pubs

The resurgence in brewing in London, which was partly due to the discerning drinker’s desire to try more diverse, well-produced, flavoursome beers rather than the mass-produced beers that dominated the industry, has brought about the opening of a whole new breed of bars and pubs. These craft beer establishments showcase quality beers from innovative local and regional breweries and also feature unusual beers from around the world.

The Craft Beer Company  — Nearest tube: Farringdon

Craft Beer Company

Photo credit: calflier001 via Flickr.

The Craft Beer Company on Leather Lane, off Holborn, is a great place to start your craft beer crawl. This Victorian pub was taken over only a year ago, but with its ever-changing beers sourced from some of the best microbreweries in the country it has become very popular very quickly.  There are 37 beers on tap including 16 cask and 21 keg taps, and beers range from the light and hoppy Camden Town Pale Ale and the full-favoured Dark Star Espresso Stout (around £3.95 a pint), to interesting German, Scandinavia and US hop monsters on keg (at around £3.95 for a half pint).

There are also over 300 bottles on sale, including many rare small-batch US artisan beers—you won’t find big US names like Flying Dog or Anchor here. The pub has been nicely restored; in the downstairs traditional but sleek bar there is a lavish mirrored ceiling and chandeliers, and upstairs there is a small light and airy lounge. It’s very easy to settle yourself down here on one of the comfy chairs, but it’s not so easy to leave.

The Euston Tap — Nearest tube: Euston

Euston Tap

Photo credit: Bernt Rostad via Flickr.

The Euston Tap is housed in a 19th century station gatehouse opposite Euston Station, and this miniscule square bar has an impressive beer list with about 8 beers on draft and 20 on keg, the names of which are scrawled on a blackboard behind the bar, plus shiny fridges lining the walls stocked with around 150 bottled beers.

It’s not cheap if you go for a US keg beer—a half pint can set you back around £3–4—but a pint of UK beer from micro-breweries such as Redemption (just up the road in Tottenham) should cost less than £4. It’s sparse inside and there isn’t much seating downstairs apart from a few stools—it’s more of a standing pub, inside and out—but up the steep spiral staircase you will find comfy sofas and a few tables. The pub also has a cute terrace, which can be a nice little suntrap in the summer. Despite its small size, the Tap has a kitchen and offers New York style pizzas so you can have something to munch on to soak up some of the beer. It’s great spot to stop off when waiting for your train. Just be aware that you’ll probably end up missing it.

READ FULL ARTICLE  (link takes you to Viator Travel)

The Cambridge Tap location revealed!

UPDATE to the post below :16/3/2012 – Cambridge Tap announced today that the project will not be going ahead. They said on Twitter today: ‘ For lack of a better word, we have been shafted. Plenty of time, money and attention blown. Looking at new site next week’. Such a shame. Good luck to you, guys, and we all really hope you manage to find a new site in Cambridge soon. Cambridge needs the Tap!

August 16th, 2011 – So, today the location of the new Cambridge Tap was finally revealed; a beer utopia where no less than 27 craft beers from local and international breweries will be on tap ready for sampling. After months of anticipation – and much specualation – the Tap tweeted a photo of the location today and asked us to identify the building to win a bar tab on opening night. And many people guessed correctly.

Inkeeping with what seems like a ‘Tap’ tradition if we look at the Euston Tap and the Sheffield Tap, for example, the Cambridge Tap is also to be located at a station. So where else could it really be? The Cambridge Tap will be located at…. Cambridge Railway Station!

Location of the Cambridge Tap

We had been guessing for months where the Cambridge Tap would be, with the Tap itself fuelling speculation on Twitter by leaving tantalising hints such as it having ‘a cracking south facing beer garden’, ‘buckets of history’ and ‘plenty of nooks and crannies’. We all racked our brains, looking at possible vacant properties to see if licenses had been applied for, or pubs that were for sale or for lease, but nothing fitted the bill. I even thought that it was a big wind-up, sounding too good to be true, so tried not to spend any more time thinking about it than I had already. But last night, Recently Drunk suggested that it could be in one of the old station buildings as he noticed that the To Let sign had gone. And we know that a license had been applied for this location a while ago, and it did used to be the old Byron Bar. Hmm. Turns out he was spot on. Good work.

The limited stuff that we know already about the Tap is that it is going to have 27 taps with great beer, including some from Camden Town Brewery, woohoo (love their pale ale) a big pizza oven, ciders, a big shared table, and seating outside plus trees. Sound good to me.

So the anticipation is over. Shame, in a way – I quite enjoyed trying to figure out the puzzle, frustrating though it was. I am looking forward to its opening in November, if all goes to plan, and if it is anything like the Sheffield Tap (OK, I have only seen pictures, I haven’t been there – yet) then it will be beautifully ornate and inkeeping with the station’s history.

Now that puzzle is solved, what will I occupy my mind with now..?

**BREAKING NEWS – 18/10/11** – Cambridge Tap has now been granted premises licence! Not long now to wait, we hope…!

Published in: on August 16, 2011 at 7:02 pm  Comments (1)  
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