The longer that ‘craft beer’ is still a thing, the more outlandish the concoctions will become. Today, on tap you can get everything from pomegranate pilsners to milk bourbon porters, and breweries’ runs of limited edition bottlings and kegs ramp up the odd factor even further.
So where best in London to expand your tastebuds? We’ve rounded up our five favourite waterings holes around the city where, if your plain lager just isn’t cutting it anymore, you can go to spice things up, sometimes literally – we’re looking at you, habanero ale…
WM Barker & Co, Spitalfields
From Goose Island to Brooklyn lager, this subterranean bar on Bishopsgate is the go-to destination for those of you looking for quality American ales on this side of the pond. A self-proclaimed ‘caboodle of hoppy treasures,’ the management change the beers on offer depending on the season, so check back in a couple of times a year to discover which new bottled brews have made it behind the bar.
The Chelsea Pensioner, Chelsea
What looks like a normal pub from outside has a bright, eccentric interiors with striped decor and is bathed in a red hue indicative of the London icon from which it takes its name. The rarest of beasts, an affordable bar in Chelsea, Happy Hours are common and the selection of native Meantime brews is second to none.
Tank and Paddle, Tower Hill
Not only great beer is served at this Mincing Lane drinking hole – the pizza and games are also a huge draw. Tank Tuesdays, TAP 10 Wednesdays, Crafty Thursdays and Hoppy Fridays are just a few of the weekly special offers, during which you can enjoy a pint of the finest craft beer directly from one of the many tanks which give this establishment its name.
The Albany, Fitzrovia
A local Regent’s Park pub, The Albany nonetheless is a great drinking hole if you’re looking for something a little off the beaten track. The classics are here, of course – this is an English pub in the centre of London, after all – but if you’re looking for a UK-brewed beer that challenges you, from Sidecar, Peach IPA and River Ryed, then you’re in luck. Many breweries have even created tipples exclusively for the Albany – so make sure you check it out.
A sports lounge may seem like a strange inclusion on this list, but if you’re looking for the perfect modern iteration of a gentleman’s club, then this is it. But it’s not all stuffy cognac and scotch this time around – for beer takes centre stage. Several bars serve up all manner of bottled and canned craft beers from around the world – from Sambrook’s Wandle, Rainbow Valley Saison, Elvis Juice and Little Rock.