You probably think that the world of real ale is all about middle-aged men with eccentric facial hair, jumbo corduroy trousers, leather waistcoats and a thinly veiled interest in pagan festivals and Morris Dancing. (Wow, you've given this a LOT of thought, obviously.)
Well in actual fact, real ale is becoming increasingly popular with all ages and those from all walks of life; and why wouldn't it be? Real ale is the perfect antidote to the chemically clean lagers of the continent and strives for taste and character above huge volume sales.
... and if it takes you a while to acquire the taste you can always extract some enjoyment in the bizarre beer names, such as Bishops Finger, Village Idiot, Fox's Nob and Old Rosie.
So hunt out some of these pubs, sit back, soak in the atmosphere and maybe sup a pint of Willies Old Groyne.
The Jolly Butcher
204 Stoke Newington High Street N16 7HURegion:
Stoke NewingtonNearest Station:
Stoke Newington (0.1 miles)
This Stoke Newington pub has quietly been impressing with its range of craft ale and Belgian beers for a few years now. The Jolly Butchers excels with its Sunday roasts and yet even they are eclipsed by some of its beers. Try: Brew Dog Punk IPA.
Mason & Taylor
51-55 Bethnal Green Road E1 6LARegion:
Bethnal Green (0.1 miles)
Mason and Taylor is all about celebrating the hipper side of craft beer and with a location at the end of Redchurch Street, you can see why. Live bands support the wonderful array of beers in the fridges and on tap and although prices are fairly high, youíll certainly remember a drink here. Try: Bristol Milk Stout from the Bristol Brewing Factory.
14 Winchester Walk SE1 9AGRegion:
London Bridge (0.1 miles)
Transformed from a greasy spoon into a specialty beer pub in 2006, The Rake is established as one of Londonís best for unusual ale. There are seven keg pumps and three real ales on at all times and best of all, none are permanent so as well as the 130 beers in the fridges the draught will surprise you every time. Try: Brooklyn India Pale Ale.
- OUR REVIEW 8/10
- USERS 9/10
Craft Beer Co
82 Leather Lane EC1N 7TRRegion:
Farringdon (0.2 miles)
The Craft Beer Co. may be a relative newcomer to the London craft beer scene but it arrives like a big beer bully pummeling challengers to the ground. The largest selection of craft keg beer in the UK (they call themselves a never ending beer festival), 16 cask ales and over 300 bottles. Just donít attempt to try too many at once. Try: An extremely random guest ale.
190 Euston Road NW1 2BNRegion:
Regent's ParkNearest Station:
With a faÁade fitting of what lurks on the shelves of the fridges and in the cellar below, The Euston Tap is a fine pub. There are eight rotating cask ales, 20 keg beers and over 100 bottled beers. Forget about the wacky and disregard affiliated breweries, The Euston Tap is simply about delivering the best in craft to London. Try: Rogue Dead Guy Ale.
The White Horse
1-3 Parsons Green SW6 4ULRegion:
Parsons Green (0.1 miles)
The Parsonís Green stalwart offers craft to the West of London by the fridge load. The White Horse is a convivial kind of place that just so happens to be one of the most highly regarded beer pubs in the UK. Try: Westmalle Tripel.
The Draft House
94 Northcote Road SW11 6QWRegion:
Clapham Junction (0.5 miles)
With three locations in London and all of them dedicated to storing and serving beer and ale in the correct way, each Draft House pub is a must for aficionados out there. There are over fifteen draught beers on tap and a mammoth collection of bottles from Europe, the Americas and the Southern Hemisphere in each location. Try: The Moosehead Pale Ale.
Camden Town Brewery
55 - 59 Wilkin Street Mews NW5 3NNRegion:
Kentish Town West
The Camden Town Brewery has added a bar to their slick operation and not just that Ė Big Apple Hot Dogs too! Anybody with a penchant for pork in buns and craft beer will find a kind of paradise at 55 Wilkin Street Mews. Try: Camden Hells Lager.
The Old Brewery
Old Royal Naval College SE10 9LWRegion:
Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich (0.1 miles)
When it comes to grand venues, they donít come much more regal than the Royal Naval College in Greenwich. The microbrewery on site delivers fresh brews and there is a carefully curated list of classic craft winners to go with them. Just a beer bottleís throw from the Cutty Sark (donít actually throw any bottles, thatís dangerous) itís like a day out Ė with craft beer. Try: Meantime Helles.
London Fields Brewery
370 Helmsley Place E8 3RRRegion:
London Fields (0.2 miles)
Established in 2011, the London Fields Brewery is one of the cityís youngest microbreweries. This may not be a bar per se, but watch out for their Saturday events Ė often weekly - for the chance to sample their newest brews. Try: Love Not War (first brewed when barricaded in during the 2011 riots!)