We don’t give beer enough respect. True, it may not be as refined as wine or as mature as most spirits, but we’ve been brewing these bitters, lagers, pilsners and porters for over four thousand years. And, thanks to the microbrewery boom, some of the best bottles and cans available to buy are now created close to home.
From the taprooms of Hackney to the railway arches of Peckham, we’ve scoured the capital for London’s best craft beers. We’ve cracked open cans, raised glasses, and tried and tested everything from saisons to stouts in search of our top ten tipples. So, whether you’re looking for a basic brown ale or a fiercely flavoured lager, there’ll be something on this list for you…
Five Points Brewing Co. Brick Field Brown
What does it taste like? The sort of brew that would appeal to traditionalists and hipsters alike. It’s a malty, robust English brown ale — but one pepped up with flowery American hops. Think elderflower on the nose, but with richer touches of hazelnuts, demerara sugar and decadent caramel-chocolate as it hits the tongue.
Where is it brewed? In honest Hackney; by The Five Points Brewing Company. Established in 2013, this start-up is inspired by Britain’s real ale tradition — but works to weave in some more pioneering, global beer styles to put a tasty spin on originals. Find the brewery and taproom at 61 Mare Street.
Five Points Brick Field Brown (12 Pack)
Signature Brew Nightliner Coffee Porter
What does it taste like? Named for a style of musicians’ tour bus, ‘Nightliner’ brings together the two fuels of true artists; booze and coffee. And this is perhaps the finest coffee porter brewed in London; soaked in intense, complex flavours — but anchored in the dependable, delicious twin notes of dark chocolate and forest fruits.
Where is it brewed? In north London. Blackhorse Lane, to be exact. But this particular beer wasn’t purely the product of Signature (the world’s number one brewery for band collaboration beers). It was also co-created by London coffee roasters, Curved Brick Co — which leant its caffeinated expertise to the brewing process.
Signature Brew Nightliner (6 Pack)
Brixton Brewery Rewired Ekuanot + Sultana Neipa
What does it taste like? Like no beer you’ve ever had before. At 6%, it’s a strong one — and has powerful flavours to match. A trio of punchy hops create Brixton Brewery’s Neipa (a New England India Pale Ale), with Magnum, Ekuanot and Sultana varieties giving this an amped-up, super-summery taste.
Where is it brewed? As the name nods to, in Brixton. Under arches 547 and 548 on Brixton Station Road. There’s also a taproom on site, so you can mosey down to try some more of Brixton’s bold offerings. But, if you’re looking for the headiest, heaviest flavours, stick with the Rewired.
Brixton Brewery Rewired (6 Pack)
Camden Town Canapé IPA
What does it taste like? The promise of a good evening of food. And, like the small bites from which this handsomely-hued beer takes its name, there are plenty of flavours to be found in every mouthful. With a quintet of hops — Perle, Citra, Enigma, Sabro and Cascade — expect juicy notes of tropical fruit, grass and a slightly buttery finish.
Where is it brewed? As the name suggests, up in Camden — where the company was established by Jasper Cuppaidge in 2010. The past decade has seen a boom for the brand, with the retro-cool logo cropping up everywhere from pub taps to supermarkets. This latest beer is one of two new releases; the other being the crisp, clean and unfiltered ‘Unfussy Lager’.
Camden Town Canapé IPA x12
Pressure Drop ‘Choice of Dessert’ Choco Banana Stout
What does it taste like? It’s not rich — it’s the richest. Silky smooth, utterly creamy and loaded with more banana flavour than you can shake a peel at, this decadent stout uses natural ingredients to give it an inimitable taste and texture. That means cacao nibs, banana purée — and a punchy 10% ABV.
Where is it brewed? In Tottenham — by the enthusiastic, inventive team across at Pressure Drop. With other flavours including ‘Mango Coconut Sour’ and ‘Black Treacle Stout’, these guys are all about creating truly hedonistic (and truly unique) drinking experiences. And the Choco Banana Stout is by far the brand’s vibrant, velvety best.
Pressure Drop ‘Choice of Dessert’ Choco Banana Stout
Howling Hops House IPA
What does it taste like? Technically, this is another ‘neipa’. One of Howling Hops’ core beers, it has a light and fluffy body, delicate fizziness and a heavy-hitting, one-two-punch of ‘Mosaic’ and ‘Motueka’ hops. That means tropical flavours prevail; with mango and pineapple being the key players on the palate.
Where is it brewed? Another Hackney outpost; this time, Hackney Wick. After working in a London pub, the Howling Hops founders discovered a thirst for interesting beers. They reopened the Cock Tavern on Mare Street as Hackney’s first brewpub in 2011 — and have been creating wild and wacky beers there ever since.
Howling Hops House IPA (6 Pack)
What does it taste like? Lager. Pure, unadulterated, easy-sipping, lip-smacking lager. After tasting almost the entire Fourpure range, it was this simple, ludicrous effective brew we kept coming back to. In easy-drinking stubby cans, Fourpure’s Bermondsey-brewed beer is as light and crisp as even the most far-flung crisp Mexican cervezas.
Where is it brewed? In south London, SE16. Fourpure has been brewing in Bermondsey since 2013. Or, as the brand says, “before brewing in an industrial estate was cool”. Earlier this year, £2.5 million was invested into the place — including an upgraded canning line to ensure we can all enjoy this excellent lager at home.
Toast American Pale Ale
What does it taste like? It tastes like an American Pale Ale; fruity, refreshing and with that slight tang of hops. That may not sounds too interesting, or noteworthy even — until you know that Toast brews all of its beers using surplus fresh bread.
Where is it brewed? Headquartered in Holborn, Toast has so far saved over 42 tons of carbon dioxide emissions by using surplus bread to replace virgin barley in its beers. The brand also donates thousands to charity and backs eco-friendly initiatives. If we can help by having a beer or two, we’re more than happy to do so.
Toast American Pale Ale (12 Pack)
Gipsy Hill Brewing Bandit Gluten Free Pale
What does it taste like? A normal pale ale — which is quite the achievement, seeing as though there’s virtually no gluten in it. Gipsy Hill’s ‘Bandit’ is an inclusive triumph; a glass-raising beacon of well-brewed thoughtfulness and the still-fruity, still-floral result of pudding the gluten from the brand’s beloved ‘Beatnik’ brew.
Where is it brewed? It’s another brand where the clue’s in the name. In south London, just above Crystal Palace, the brand has been brewing since 2014 — since becoming one of the largest independent breweries in the capital.
Gipsy Hill Brewing Bandit (12 Pack)
What does it taste like? Funky of label and ruby of colour, Partizan’s Porter looks dark — but is reasonably light-bodied. You’ve got the deep, luscious flavours of caramel, coffee and chocolate, yet it doesn’t feel heavy or cloying. The perfect medium dry introductory porters for first-time triers.
Where is it brewed? In Bermondsey — perhaps London’s beer-brewing capital. With a taproom nestled on Raymouth Road, Partizan has been making boundary-pushing beer since 2021. Mirroring London’s diversity, the brand creates beers from a ‘Lemon and Thyme Saison’ to a jet black, roasty, toasty ‘Stout’.
Partizan Porter (12 Pack)
Brick DIPA: Galaxy, Citra & Motueka
What does it taste like? You wouldn’t be able to guess from the name, would you? Sounds like a string of code. Thankfully, while Brick Brewery’s DIPA: Galaxy, Citra & Motueka may be a mouthful to pronounce, it’s a smooth double IPA to taste — with delectably fruity notes of both passionfruit and lime.
Where is it brewed? This 8% marvel is created behind Peckham Rye station in a railway arch — seemingly the natural home for London craft breweries. Founded in 2013, Brick produces a reliable core line of classics (from Pilsner to Pale Ale), but also frequently thinks outside the typical beer box and launches crazy, covetable limited editions.
Brick DIPA: Galaxy, Citra & Motueka
Canopy Paceline Lime & Salt Lager
What does it taste like? As the brand itself says; “Think margaritas at the poolside”. This ‘Lime & Salt’ lager does exactly what it says on the exuberantly-decorated tin. With each refreshing sip, it’ll nudge you that little bit closer to a sun-soaked Spanish resort (with a touch of the classic British lager and lime thrown in for good measure…)
Where is it brewed? At the easternmost edge of Brockwell Park, Lambeth. The perfect place to pick up a can or two and enjoy under the summer sun, Canopy has been creating beers since 2014 — whipping up brews as weird and wonderful as the strange creatures that embellish its cans.
Canopy Paceline Lime & Salt Lager (12 Pack)
Redchurch Stratford Pilsner
What does it taste like? The perfect pilsner. Not too bitter, not too bolshy — Redchurch have cracked this tricky German code and created a malty mouthful with a sweet biscuity flavour profile. It’s like lager’s older brother; slightly more cultured, crafted with care and given a British twist (thanks to some English hops).
Where is it brewed? In Harlow, which *technically* isn’t in London. But Redchurch’s proximity to the M25 is such — and the quality of its pilsner is such — that we’re giving this bottling an honorary mention anyway.
Redchurch Stratford Pilsner (24 Pack)
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