Sick of hitting the ‘Spoons on a Friday night? Impress mates and dates by taking them to any one of these independent brewery taprooms, where London craft beers and house ales can be sampled in the comfort of the brewery or affiliated bar. After all, the best London breweries are surely the ones where you can sample straight from the source. Read on for our selection, but bear in mind that opening hours can be changeable, so check Twitter first to avoid going thirsty.
The best London breweries
London's craft beer scene has grown at an astonishing rate, with a whole host of taprooms and brewery tours now open to the public. Here's our pick of the best London breweries
Few London breweries have expanded at the phenomenal rate of Beavertown, which now occupies a huge warehouse space in Tottenham. Whether such progress owes anything to the fact that its founder happens to be the son of Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant, we couldn’t possibly comment. But when the beer – as bold and brash as its can art – is so consistently good, who cares?
One of south London’s newer breweries occupies a massive warehouse space just off of Old Kent Road. As well as hosting regular Sofar Sounds gigs, the taproom opens for on-site drinking and takeaways every Friday. The beer line-up is heavily influenced by sessionable styles from the American west coast, with all except the Red Rye clocking in under 5% ABV.
Brockley Brewery was founded by a group of local residents who felt that the area’s thriving local community was lacking good-quality ales. Housed in a disused builder’s workshop, it opened its doors to the public in 2013 so that everyone could take advantage of a brewery on their doorstep.
Fri 5.30pm-7.30pm, Sat 10am-5pm.
Occupying a pair of small railway arches next to Brockwell Park, Bullfinch specialises in punchy American-style pales. Its beers are becoming a feature of some of the city’s finest craft beer pubs, but the best way to sample the full range is by settling down with a tasting flight in the on-site taproom.
Thu-Fri, 4pm-10pm; Sat-Sun, noon–10pm.
Featuring both guest and house ales on tap such as the Milkwood Amber Ale, this brewery also showcases a range of gins and ciders made in the local area. Sit outside in the taproom beer garden or inside if the weather isn’t all that great.
Wed-Fri 5pm-11pm, Sat noon-11pm, Sun noon-10pm.
This west-London stalwart has been mashing, boiling and fermenting since long before today’s brewers were twinkles in their grandfathers’ beards. The on-site shop is the best place to find Fuller’s lesser known beers (don’t worry, there’s lots of London Pride too), and the £20 brewery tour includes plenty of tastings.
When Howling Hops expanded into a bigger site in Hackney Wick, its birthplace in the basement below the Cock Tavern on Mare Street was taken over by this fledgling outfit. The Cock’s taps are constantly home to at least a handful of Maregade’s brews, which tend toward traditional English styles.
The Tasting Rooms at the Meantime Brewing Co are located in the heart of the brewery, giving you the opportunity to watch the brewers work their magic while you enjoy a pint of their refreshing London Lager.
Mon-Wed noon-10.30pm, Thu-Fri noon-11pm, Sat 11am-11pm, Sun noon-6pm.
This Bermondsey operation is unique among London breweries in that it also houses a collection of small pilot kits with which, for a monthly fee, truly dedicated hopheads can brew their own. As well as producing its own range of house beers, Ubrew also leases its full-size kit out to a small group of fledgling commercial brewers – notably Old Kent Rd Brewery – who are gaining a reputation in their own right.
Thu–Sat, noon-11pm; Sun noon–7pm.
Determined to make sure SW19 is recognised for more than middle-class sport and trash-clearing critters, this cask-focused brewery’s reputation is slowly but surely spreading beyond south-west London. See what the fuss is about by booking onto a brewery tour, or dropping by for a ‘beer appreciation day’ on the last Saturday or every month.
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