The best London brewery taprooms to visit
There isn’t a corner of London, it seems, that doesn’t have its own brewery, or multiple breweries, for that matter. For those putting together beer offerings for their venues, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to stocking something local. Nearly all of these either have taprooms, or will welcome a visit if arranged in advance. Some offer experiences to try your hand at brewing, and there’s always the possibility of collaborating to create a beer that’s unique to your venue.
Below are just a few of the capital’s finest, focusing on smaller producers, and these just scratch the surface of the UK beer scene on the whole. There’s plenty to explore out there, and it’s ever-changing too.
There are few better places, if any, to dive into the London beer scene than the Bermondsey Beer Mile – at least a dozen breweries within easy walking distance, interspersed with other drinks producers such as Hawkes Cider, Gosnells Mead and Bermondsey Distillery. It makes for a rather excellent day out on a Saturday or Sunday, and many are open on weeknights too.
The brewery that started it all in Bermondsey is Kernel, first opening its doors in 2009, back when craft breweries were barely a thing in the UK. That tiny brewery has stood the test of time, expanding since then and now operating a tap room near to the brewery itself. The team there brew a variety of beers, perhaps best known among them Table Beer, a pale ale clocking in at just 3% ABV. Then there’s a Pale Ale, IPA, London Sour, Dry Stout, and more to choose from.
For traditionally brewed cask-style beers there’s Southwark Brewery, with options including English bitter Bermondsey Best, pale ale Mayflower, red ale Routemaster Red and Potter’s Fields Porter. The tap room is open on weekends, as well as Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings.
Step into Manchester brewery Cloudwater’s Bermondsey outpost on Enid Street and you’ll be greeted with 20 draught taps featuring new releases as well as barrel-aged beers. The space also serves as a point for trade customers to pick up beers for their venues too. The beer selection is varied – everything from a 3% ABV Table Beer to triple New England IPA Chubbles Chubbles, clocking in at 10% ABV, via fruited sour Raspberry & Passionfruit Gentle Breeze.
Don’t miss Anspach & Hobday’s brewery on Druid Street, The Arch House, sister venue to its Croyden Tap. Here you’ll find the brewery’s signature beer, London Black, alongside a range of other offerings. You might get some inspiration for a collab too – the brewery has teamed up with the likes of Restaurant Story for limited-edition brews in the past.
And there’s plenty more on the Beer Mile, including Moor Beer’s Vaults, Mash Paddle, with its beer brewing workshops, and online retailer EeBria’s taproom, with eight taps and a vast selection of beers in the fridges.
Headed further south, to Peckham, is Brick Brewery, featuring 20 different beers on draught, including some exclusives, to be enjoyed either inside or in the beer garden. Food is taken care of too, courtesy of Taca Taco. Brick started in founders Ian and Sally Stewart’s shed, and now brews in Deptford, maintaining this former brewery as a taproom, open Tuesday to Sunday.
Any discussion of brewing in Peckham wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Kanpai, London’s very own craft sake brewery, producing a range of sakes using traditional Japanese techniques. The taproom is well worth a visit, open Wednesday to Sunday, with its fresh sake on tap (namazake), and no shortage of sake by the glass and the bottle, with those produced by Kanpai alongside a rotating list of guest bottles, from brewers in Japan and elsewhere. Opposite the brewery and taproom is Kanpai Kitchen, offering izakaya-style dining from former Nobu chef Chris Wright.
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A good place to start exploring Hackney’s brewing scene is Bohemia Place near Hackney Central Station, home of Hackney Church Brew Co. Here, an excellent taproom sits alongside the brewery itself, with ample seating out front and in a secluded beer garden behind, as well as inside, where a range of beers are on offer, alongside food by Lagom. For local bars, beer delivery is free.
Bohemia Place was also home, until recently, to The Experiment by Verdant and Pressure Drop, located in the railway arch originally occupied by Pressure Drop, which sadly closed its doors a few weeks ago.
Up the road, on Mare Street, is Five Points Brewing Co, offering tank-fresh pints in its taproom, just alongside where the beers are brewed. Every week, Thursday to Sunday, the taproom and courtyard is open, featuring 18 draught lines, including guest beers. The courtyard also features drinks from Pamela, as well as food courtesy of From The Ashes BBQ and Anoosh.
In Hackney Wick, canalside, you’ll find Crate Brewery. Although the beers are now brewed with Purity Brewing, this warehouse space is still well worth a visit, with the full Crate range on offer, as well as a selection of guest beers. There are pizzas available, and for more serious food, there’s Silo, a zero waste restaurant from chef Douglas McMaster.
Not far from King’s Cross station is Campfire by Two Tribes, an outdoor event space and beer garden that combines fresh craft beer, fire-cooked barbecue and electronic music. The bar is open Tuesday to Saturday.
Not far from here, just behind Caledonian Road station, is Hammerton Brewery. Its busy taproom has seating both inside and outside, with sourdough pizza to accompany a range of beers, from the core range to limited-edition brews, not to mention a range of other drinks. The brewery also operates a pub not too far away, on Holloway Road, House of Hammerton, with over 20 beers on draught, and more than 60 beers available to either drink there or take away.
Bermondsey isn’t the only beer mile in town, with Walthamstow home to the Blackhorse Beer Mile, featuring stops such as Big Penny Social, Wild Card Brewery and more. Signature Brew makes good use of its space on Blackhorse Lane, home not only to its brewery, but to a busy bar too. In addition to fresh Signature Brew beers, and a range of other drinks, the bar is host to performances by musicians and comedians, and features food by 7Bone Burger Co. Also in Walthamstow is The Collab, created by Signature Brew and We Serve Humans.
Then there’s Exale’s brewery and taproom. Set in an old furniture factory, and with a covered beer garden. Expect craft beer, of course, alongside cocktails and other drinks, and food from The Lacy Nook, offering cuisine from the Balkan peninsula.
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