US-style craft beers are becoming popular in London – and these are the best places to drink them
Craft beer – interesting, progressive beers made by small-scale breweries, and distinct from real ale – is often explosively hoppy and quite unlike traditional British beer. An increasing number of London bars and pubs are specialising in them. Here's our pick.
The Cask claims to stock Britain's biggest selection of bottled beer; it's no slouch on the draught front either. As well as some of the best brews from Germany, Holland and Belgium, you'll find many rare beers from the USA.
Read Cask review
The Craft Beer Company specialises in the more offbeat offerings from small, unusual, mostly British breweries. This second branch has ten lesser-known ales on tap, another 20 on keg, and scores more by the bottle.
Read Craft Beer Company review
At this Brixton pub, run by the people behind the Jolly Butcher in Stoke Newington, there are seven real ales from cask, and 14 keg beers and ciders. The breweries you'll see represented regularly are Redemption, Dark Star, Magic Rock, Camden Town, Brewdog, Brooklyn and Kernel; bottles take a worldlier approach and include a fair few Belgians.
Read Crown & Anchor review
True to its name, the Draft House puts beer centrestage, taking provenance, cellaring and pouring seriously. The brews are indeed impressive, and the option of one-third pint measures reinforces the spirit of discovery. There are other branches in Battersea, Tower Bridge, East Dulwich and Fitzrovia.
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This fine operation joins fellow Draft Houses in Northcote Road, Battersea Bridge Road and Tower Bridge Road - the group is certainly beginning to look like a small chain, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Its model is to uphold the traditional values of a pub and combine them with a modern respect for well-brewed beer and decent food.
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Rating: 3/5Pepys Building, Old Royal Naval College, SE10 9LW
Brewer Alistair Hook and his team's own artisan beers feature strongly on the menu at this Greenwich bar and restaurant, as you'd expect, but there's plenty of outside choice too. The full Meantime range – including the lesser-spotted Union dark lager and Chocolate beer – are worth a visit on their own. The best of British, Belgian and beyond appear among the 50 or so craft beers served by the bottle.
Read Old Brewery review
An almost-over-the-top colonial theme might put off some serious drinkers, but a glance at the beer menu should dispel any doubts. The US, Australia and New Zealand are well represented alongside some little-seen British beers from the likes of Bristol Beer Company or Lovibonds from Henley.
Read Powder Keg Diplomacy review
Seven kegs, three casks and 130 bottles: you wouldn't expect the owners of Borough Market's comprehensively stocked Utobeer stall to hold back when it came to their own diminutive bar. The bottles come from all over the world; on draught is a changing selection of beers – often rare ones – from Europe, particularly Belgium.
Read Rake review