London is awash with craft beer. Here are 10 of our favourite places to drink it.
The Italian Job, Chiswick
The Italians don't just excel at proseccos and chiantis, you know. The Italian Job — run by Giovanni Campari and Giuseppe Verdoni — flaunts draft beers from the versatile Birrificio del Ducato brewery (saisons, imperial stouts, grapefruit ale, you name it) in Parma along with a smattering of other brews, from Tuscany to Lombardy. The Italian Job does take on something of a restaurant vibe during eating hours, and drinkers may find themselves having to stand. But then, what better excuse to book yourself a table and dig into the parma ham and deep fried pizza.
See also: The Italian Job's bar at Mercato Metropolitano, near Elephant and Castle.
The Italian Job, 13 Devonshire Road, W4 2EU
A dangerous distraction en route to Camberwell Leisure Centre, Stormbird is full to the gunwales with delicious tipples. Approaching the bar, cask ales and Belgian brews are to your left (Dark Stars feature regularly, Kwak is a given), while behind the bar reside fridges of exciting bottles and cans (Alaskan smoked porter, white passion fruit beer, Belgian bottles galore). The real lure, though, is the gleaming array of taps along the main bar; Mikkellers and Kernels rub shoulders with lesser-known breweries; many have hand-drawn labels, and some sound/taste like Willy Wonka creations (we had a strawberry milkshake IPA here once). Quietly attentive staff, and a relaxed policy about bringing in your own food makes for a boozy home from home.
Stormbird, 25 Camberwell Church Street, SE5 8TR
Mother Kelly's, Bethnal Green
Inspired by the tap rooms of New York, Mother Kelly's is one of London's most exciting craft beer experiences. 20+ taps cover everything from London stalwarts (Brew By Numbers, Orbit) to breweries like Põhjala, in Tallinn. Have your beer mind broadened with bourbon oaked tripels and strawberry berliner weisses. (There are some interesting ciders too.) You can also peruse the numerous fridges that make up an entire wall; this even features a decent range of non alcoholic brews. Beers shift so quickly at Mother Kelly's, it's not unusual to have your menu swapped for a new one while you drink.
See also: their two sister bottle shops, in Homerton and Stoke Newington.
Mother Kelly's, 251 Paradise Row, E2 9LE
The Crown & Anchor, Brixton
Yes, it's a gastropub, but it's so much more. Unlike countless other food pubs, The Crown & Anchor isn't content with chucking a couple of Meantimes on the bar, and calling it a day. Kegged beers (Pressure Drop, Wild Beer, Evil Twin) dominate the line-up, and there are usually a few cask ales on too. There's no problem popping in for a pint or two, although we can also vouch for their roasts. A wonderful pub for snuggling up on a Sunday afternoon.
See also: Stoke Newington sister pub The Jolly Butchers.
The Crown & Anchor, 246 Brixton Road, SW9 6AQ
Pelt Trader, The City
Often as frantic as a trading floor during Black Wednesday, Pelt Trader is hardly somewhere for a first date. If, however, you're looking to let off some steam in the City, and do so with some excellent craft beer, you've found your destination. Unfiltered Camden Town brews, Kernel pale ales, and German lagers populate the kegged beers list. There's a hearty cask menu too, offering the likes of Bristol Beer Factory Milk Stout. After a couple of these, it's almost impossible to resist one of the Ray's Pizzas, baked in-house.
Pelt Trader, Dowgate Hill, EC4N 6AP
See also: The Holborn Whippet, Pelt Trader's more laid-back sister.
Draft House, Hammersmith
There are nine branches of Draft House to choose from in London, and there's no right or wrong answer. We've gone with Hammersmith because a) craft beers pubs are thinner on the ground in west London and b) this branch has a particularly homely feel about it. Kegged (Beavertown, Brew By Numbers), tank (Pilsner Urquell), cask (Siren, Sambrooks) and bottles and cans (eclectic US, Belgian and other brews), make this a craft beer haven for completists. And the food's good too.
See also: the plethora of other Draft Houses across London.
Draft House Hammersmith, 238 Shepherd's Bush Road, W6 7NL
London Beer Dispensary, Brockley
Hands down the best bar in London without an actual bar, London Beer Dispensary serves a range of gravity ales (Ilkley, Bristoal Beer Factory) and kegged beers (Coalition, Wiper and True, Fourpure). No longer under the company of the Late Knights Brewery, this wonderful little micropub continues to thrive — and is one of the cosiest, and friendliest, spots to sup in south London.
London Beer Dispensary, 389 Brockley Road, SE4 2PH
The Bree Louise
No exposed bricks or 11% imperial IPAs here; The Bree Louise is a craft beer pub in the sense that it feels like a permanent Camra beer (and cider) festival. The 17 ales (six on pump, 11 on gravity) constantly change, but expect the likes of Titanic, Windsor & Eton, Ringwood and Dark Star. A big TV screen broadcasts the latest additions to the bar. If your train from Euston isn't for a while, order one of the pies.
The Bree Louise, 69 Cobourg Street, NW1 2HH
The Lyric, Soho
Soho's many pubs might be beautiful to behold, but often the surroundings belie a poor beer selection. Not so at The Lyric, a handsome Victorian boozer, which also takes its craft beer seriously. British beers are the order of the day, with names like Redwell and Wild Beer on keg, and Truman's and Big Smoke on cask. It makes us happy to see a real range on at a traditional pub, rather than the usual, insipid, suspects. The perfect spot for a pre- or post-theatre chat.
The Lyric, 37 Great Windmill Street, W1D 7LT
The Old Fountain, Old Street
Working your eyes down the chalkboard, while being barged about by punters trying to get to the bar, is part of the experience at The Old Fountain. Here's another pub that somehow manages to please both those who've been coming for years, and the Silicon Valley newbies. Beers by Beavertown, Moor, Siren and Redchurch are usually on tap — along with those by more traditional breweries such as Oakham. Rest assured, you'll be able to slake your thirst with the most innocuous of cask pales ales, or the most potent of imperial stouts. There's a small rooftop terrace, and good luck finding a space up there.
The Old Fountain, 3 Baldwin Street, EC1V 9NU
Can't see your favourite London craft beer pub? We may have mentioned it in our previous article. Otherwise, tell us in the comments below.