Forget about going to Germany for Oktoberfest – we raise a glass to the city’s best breweries.
Hop on over to one of the capital’s craft breweries, where you can sip a pint or two of the best beers around, says Sam Rogg
You don’t need to travel to Germany’s Oktoberfest to experience the best brews.
Thanks to the recent craft beer movement, the capital is home to more independent breweries, tap rooms and beer events than you can shake an empty pint glass at. From the refreshingly crisp finish of a Camden Hells, to the black velvety allure of a Crate Stout, this city produces some amazing beers. You’ll spot many of them on bar menus, but for the ultimate experience, head straight to the source.
With so many complex beers to choose from, people often overlook a simple lager, but at Camden Town Brewery ( 55-59 Wilkin St Mews, NW53NN), the much-maligned drink gets a lot of love. Full flavoured, well balanced and elegantly moreish, Camden Hells is the king of lager. Head here to see how it’s made, eat some malt and smell some hops. There’s street food Thur-Sat nights. Pre-book a tour or just drop in at noon on Saturdays, and think of a brewery like you would a factory: wear trousers and closed-toe shoes for a tour.
Hackney Wick in east London is not only home to the highest concentration of art studios in Europe, but two of the capital’s best breweries: Crate ( 7, The White Building, Queen’ s Yard, E 95 EN) and Howling Hops (Unit 9 a Queen’ s Yard, White Post Lane, E 95 EN; above). Inside Crate, you can enjoy stone-baked pizzas with an IPA or pint of pale, while looking out over herb gardens and a canal. At Howling Hops, you can sip from the UK’s first dedicated tank bar, featuring 10 tanks with different beers.
South of the river, near London Bridge, you’ll find a delicious concentration of microbreweries in Bermondsey, or ‘Beermondsey’ as it’s come to be known, including Anspach & Hobday ( 118 Druid St, SE12HH). This is the perfect place to sink a pint after lunch at nearby Maltby Street food market on a weekend.
If you’re in Bermondsey on a Saturday between 9am-2pm, pop into The Kernel (Arch 11, Dock le y Rd Industrial Estate, SE163SF), the area’s original brewery and still regarded as the best. Due to overwhelming demand, you can no longer drink on site but you can buy bottles to take away – a tasty London souvenir. Opening hours vary, so please check before visiting breweries.