Craft beers are here to stay!
I don’t know about you but I love real ale, I have been drinking it as my chosen tipple for 30 years. As a young man I was viewed as rather old for my years when others around me were drinking lager of all types. Its funny how it has come full circle and the youngsters now view real ale as trendy and very much part of their generation.
Craft beer is exploding in the UK; in the past 12 months 170 craft breweries have opened, a total of 1,285 in the country, more than any other in the world, per capita. London in particular is a hot spot for hops, according to the CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) Good Beer Guide 2016, 20 new breweries opened in the past year bringing the total to 74 in the capital. Craft beer festivals happen throughout the year, the most impressive is the Great British Beer Festival, organized by CAMRA, next planned for August 9-13, 2016 at London’s Olympia. Offering the chance to explore and sample over 900 artisan ales, ciders, perries (cider made from pears) and international beers. There are some really exciting breweries sprouting up all over the country offering some amazing types brewed to their special recipe.
Here are just a few:
With five locations in London, and a sixth to open soon near Bank, the Craft Co is small yet growing chain with a fanatical commitment to craft brew. Craft Beer Co works directly with UK microbreweries to snag rare beers, with 37 on tap and an equally impressive selection of bottles from the UK and exotic imports. Private and group function space varies by venue; Islington can handle up to 50 people and offers a juicy burger menu.
Scottish craft beer company Brew Dog, has a cult following (famous for creating the strongest and most expensive bottled beer in the world, “End of History” in 2010 with 55% APV, that sold out and now on offer are 32% “Tactical Nuclear Penguin” and 41% “Sink the Bismarck!”) Brew Dog has several London outposts, the Shepherd’s Bush location is ideal for groups with capacity from 30 – 50, with 40 beers on tap, 18 of their own brews and the rest from microbreweries around the world, plus a large bottle and can selection along with a menu of burgers, hot dogs and snacks all with Scottish flair.
Home to London’s only dedicated cider bar, Euston Tap offers 16 tap lines of apple tipples in still or sparkling, plus one of London’s most varied selection of craft brews with 27 on tap (19 constantly changing kegs with ales, lagers, wheat beers plus 8 cask ales) and 150 bottled beers. Euston Tap has a private room for up to 15 people; food is limited to Famous Ray’s pizza, chips, nuts and pork scratching. Clearly, you come here for the brew.
No bottled beer on offer at the Holborn Whippet, just an unusually well curated and constantly rotating selection of 16 beers and ciders, from such breweries as Kernel, Siren and Redwell from the UK plus high end imports. The Whippet has a private room that can seat up to 40 people; food is high quality bar snacks, burgers and brat sausages.
For beer lovers that are also foodies, noteworthy newcomer is Beef & Brew in the Kentish Town neighbourhood, which opened last month with great buzz about chef Jess Simmons, who’s worked her way through London’s Michelin starred kitchens, and has a passion for steak and craft brew. Private parties for up to 45 offering bespoke menus paired with craft beers.
Happy Christmas and here’s to a good old pint of real ale.