If on holiday in London this summer you could have the most memorable holiday in this charming and beautiful city. With loads of places to visit and explore and innumerable activities to partake in, London is the ideal holiday destination. Testimony to this is the record numbers of tourists who flock to the city every year, which makes it one of the most popular destinations in the UK.
London is known for its venues of entertainment, shopping, fine dining and cultural scene. One of the most popular activities in the city is that of visiting the traditional pub or a bar for a beer. Whether it is quaffing down ale at London’s most iconic bar or a pint at the local pub, it is a longstanding tradition, which still continues till this day. There are numerous pubs and top notch bars in the city like the swanky bar near Silicon Roundabout, the M by Montcalm Shoreditch London Tech City known for its opulent ambience, great choice of spirits and beer and of course delectable cuisine.
Some other places that serve as great watering holes for beer lovers are as follows:
Drop in at a branch of Belgo to have a few swigs of its fruit-flavoured lagers, Wheat and Trappist beers, all of which are served in ornate glassware. In case you feel peckish you could try their classics like carbonnade or moules. If you love German beer head straight to Zeitgeist in the Vauxhall area, a well known gastropub that offers a variety of wheat beers and lagers along with traditional German fare. For a more theatrical experience visit the Bavarian Beerhouse, where Germany’s famous Oktoberfest is on all year long with the staff in traditional garb. There is Soho’s De Hems pub, which has the distinction of being the only Dutch bar in the city. You could sample Lindeboom on tap, although most of the beers served are German or Belgian. Move to Holborn to taste Polish lagers at Bar Polski with exotic names like Tatra and Zubr and have a dish of pierogi to complement the experience. There is the cool Brew Wharf Yard adjacent to Vinopolis, where you could taste beer from all corners of the globe. Their range includes stout, home brewed lager and American, Italian, Belgian, Austrian, Spanish, and South African varieties.
There are a whole lot of beer-related events scheduled all throughout the year in London. In the month of June there is the Taste of London festival that offers beers purveyed from around the world. The month of August focuses on the Great British Beer Festival that promotes British ale, supported by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). There also is the London Craft Beer Festival that began in August 2013, which highlights the rise of independent breweries. In late September the German Oktoberfest comes to town for three weeks.
During medieval times beer was big business with approximately 300 breweries in the City of London during the 14th century. Of these the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, was the largest and today is home to quirky clothes stalls and a street food market. With a rise in capital investment breweries were compelled to move to other parts of the UK. It is only now that with things looking up for the industry and a new found interest in artisan beer and ale, that independent microbreweries are popping up all over the place. There are even tours organised by some which educate drinkers about the brewing process and also offer samples to taste.
Nowadays the largest and most famous is Fullers, with close to 400 branches in the UK. Their famous West London brewery organises tours of an hour and half long from Monday to Friday, all through the day. Similarly Camden Town Brewery, producers of Gentleman’s Wit and Hells Lager offer tours on every Thursday evening. Its Brewery Bar opens Thursday to Sunday, with food trucks outside for hungry customers.
In the Battersea area there is Sambrooks which offer offer tours on third Wednesdays of every month, and London Fields Brewery tours are on weekends. Some other places worth checking out are Meantime Brewing Company in Greenwich and Brodie’s Beers in Leyton. While the Kernel Brewery in Bermondsey don’t offer tours, they do allow customers to purchase beer directly from them. There is Crate Brewery down in Hackney Wick which serves their version of India Pale Ale, bitter and stout. It is at a picturesque location and very popular with East End revellers.
Taste + shop: There is BrewDog, which have sites in Camden and Shoreditch along with other important around the UK. They offer tasting sessions which pairs their beer with meat and cheese. Makes for a most interesting combination for sure! For groups Craft Beer Company organises a special tour with sample tastings of beer from all over the globe. To the widest variety of locally brewed beers visit Kris Wines in Holloway, the Beer Boutique in Richmond or Uto Beer in Borough Market.
Do some homemade brewing: Have you fancied the idea of brewing your own beer. The fact is that if you become good at it it will be much more economical that visiting the local pub to buy beer. You could learn online as there are scores of websites that offer online tutorials, although it is recommended to attend a workshop, which will help you to learn the craft thoroughly. There is the Beer Academy that offers a number of courses at different levels including NVQ accredited courses for those who really want to master the art. A cheaper option is the one-day home brewing classes organised by London Fields Brewery with lunch thrown in with all the needed equipment, at a reasonable cost.