We've been to a few most of London's taprooms, and none of them are as knee-tremblingly good fun as Werewolf.
The hirsute moniker lets slip a schlocky horror theme that takes its cue from the horror/comedy movie An American Werewolf in London, as well as kitsch small town Americana: fibreglass mummies and gravestones are scattered liberally, episodes of The Munsters play on loop on a small TV set, a Dracula in a coffin perches against a wall in the courtyard.
This feels less like Camden Road, more like a run-down amusement park from Scooby Doo.
"I really wanted to make the taproom as much like either a US gas station or a haunted house," says Werewolf's director and head brewer, Rich White who moved to London from Syracuse, NY — a place he describes as the place of Grace Jones, Tom Cruise, Eric Carle (of Very Hungry Caterpillar fame) and the voice of Spongebob Squarepants, Tom Kenny.
Without a doubt the greatest gimmicky lures of the taproom are the ghost train ride cars, which you're free to plonk yourself down in, while sipping a brew. They were built for Rainbow Amusement Park in Hunstanton, Norfolk sometime before 1960 — and a few years ago, after the retro ride was torn out, ended up in a junk shop in Norwich.
Says White, "A friend called me up and said 'you have to see this!' It was the first thing I bought for Werewolf Beer, even before the brewing equipment! So all of the skull cars and monsters you see dotted around were rescued from there." (The brewery, by the way, first opened in 2021, on — what day do you think? — 31 October, natch.)
Throw into the mix lashings of psychobilly rock, and a crew of tattoo-slathered faithfuls in sleeveless Cramps vests, and you've got yourself an agreeable Saturday afternoon out.
Of course, Werewolf risks being one big toe-curling shtick if the beers aren't up to code, but thankfully, there's nothing to get spooked about on that front. The generic likes of Ghost Ship and Hobgoblin are strictly persona non grata — instead, drinkers can wet their whistles with an array of potions brewed on site, sure to send shivers down your tongue: A Cascade, Chinook and Citra-hopped pale called Psychobilly. The deliciously potent Horrorshow rye IPA. Kadillac — a coffee stout, which could bring people back from the dead.
White, after all, has been homebrewing since he was 20, and worked at London Brewing Co before he set up Werewolf.
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"We are 'An American Brewery in London'", he says, "so I wanted to make the type of beers I was used to back home but couldn't quite get here. I'm influenced by the trailblazers like Sierra Nevada, Bells and Dogfish Head but also places that came of age when I did, like Southern Tier and Founders.
"No trendy hype stuff but we are trying to make pumpkin beer as big a thing as it is in America."
Billed as the only independent craft brewery in Camden — and a venue that puts on everything from quizzes to fashion shows — we'd urge anyone in the hood to call in at what it surely London's kookiest taproom. And if you like beer, consider that a bonus.
Werewolf Beer, Camden, open Friday-Sunday. The brewery is running Bloody Americans, an Independence Day beer festival from 29 June-2 July 2023, starring beers from UK breweries that are run by Americans — as well as special imports from Texas, Nashville and Chicago.