The Jolly Butchers in Stoke Newington is a stop-off on every beer buff’s ultimate pub crawl, and so news that its owners had taken over this public house south of the river was greeted with glee. The no-frills restoration stripped things back to bare brick and gave the wraparound windows smart gunmetal-grey frames; the most exciting feature though is the lengthy bar and its endless fonts (or so it seems – there are actually seven real ales from cask, and 14 keg beers and ciders). The breweries you’ll see represented regularly are Redemption, Dark Star, Camden Town, BrewDog, Kernel and Five Points; bottles take a worldier approach and include a fair few Belgians.
Clued-up staff are keen to recommend and offer tasting notes and samples. What makes this pub really stand out is the way it bridges the apparent divide between Camra-endorsed real ale and its hip young cousin, craft beer. Bearded note-takers and bearded hipsters should feel equally at home, as will their hopefully beardless female companions: the Crown & Anchor – unpretentious, friendly, local and devoted to the cause – is also a bloody nice place to sink a drop.