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Feb 8, 2009 09:43 AM

Good Beers on tap in South London

NYC-hound here. Looking for a good, not too trendy pub in South London, preferably Balham, Clapham, Streatham or Brixton. Ideally I want a place that really cares about good beer and offers interesting ales, lagers, stouts, etc. on tap. An emphasis on smaller breweries would good too.

Any tips are appreciated. Thanks!

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  1. In Brixton, i can heartily recommend the Trinity Arms, which fits your requirements perfecty..

    1. In Battersea I suggest going to Microbar - - they have a good rotating selection on tap and loads of bottles. Lots of good beers.

      1 Reply
      1. re: catandcrow

        microbar is a pain to get to, and is not a pub.

        but it does have a good range.

      2. It's not in any of the areas that you've listed, but The Rake in Borough do great beers - Sierra Nevada specifically, and Brew Dog beers.

        6 Replies
        1. re: hollow_legs

          Why travel to London to drink American beer i.e. Sierra Nevada?

          1. re: PhilD

            Ah good point - I missed the NYC-hound bit. Nevertheless, the Brew Dog beers are very good, Punk IPA is my favourite.

            1. re: hollow_legs

              If you're heading to Borough The Market Porter or the Royal Oak are fab! Not sure if New Cross/Deptford is too far out of your way (it is South) - if you fancy a trip The Dog and Bell is really worth a trip

              1. re: iheartcupcakes

                Thanks for The Market Porter tip. I'll def be heading to Borough so will have to make a research stop.

                1. re: iheartcupcakes

                  I second the Market Porter. One of the few places to feature Harvey's.

              2. I like The Bedford in Balham, but like most of of the pubs in Balham, it is fairly trendy. Food is nice too. Most stuff on tap is pretty mainstreem, but you can get Sharp's Doombar which is a lovely ale.

                3 Replies
                1. re: nanette

                  the bedford clearly does not fall into what she asked.

                  its a (very good) pub, with the bog standard standard range of drinks. completely out of scope.

                  1. re: batfink23

                    I think that's a bit mean. Sharp's is a very good ale and I'd hardly call it "bog standard". It is also just about the nicest pub in Balham.

                    1. re: nanette

                      The Bedford is a lovely pub, one of my favourites but did you not read the OP?

                      you'll also note I called the range of drinks 'bog standard', which you seem to agree with your comment "most stuff on tap is main stream".

                2. Pam if you are a beer connoisseur then this site may be of interest - CAMRA are one of the original consumer driven campaign organisations in the UK, in the 1970s they mounted a successful campaign against the large multinational breweries who were intent on standardising and homogenising the beer that was available in the UK. Much credit is owed to them for the current interest in, and success of the UK micro/regional brewing industry. They publish a pretty good guide to pubs that sell good beer which is a good resource (I don't think it is available on-line as it is their main fund raising vehicle), it tends to value the quality of the beer over the decor and ambiance, and like tradition over modernity.

                  London has always been quite a good town for real beer having a few good regional breweries like "Youngs" and "Fullers". As good british beer is generally cask conditioned (i.e. it is a living product) and so the quality of a pint is as much determined by how it is stored, cared for, and served as much as the quality of production. Finding a pub that "keeps" its beer well is the secret - lots around, and the CAMBRA guide can help find them. Sorry I am no longer an expert on London pubs now I live in the West Country.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: PhilD

                    From the 2009 CAMRA guide:
                    Streatham Hill - Crown and Sceptre
                    Clapham - Rose and Crown, Windmill on the Common, Bread and Roses, Manor Arms
                    Balham - Nightingale (locally known as The Bird)

                    1. re: PhilD

                      Thank you all for your suggestions. Phil, I am looking for cask conditioned beer. It's a recent discovery and it has become a talking point here in New York with some excellent small breweries offering delicious stuff and they are very much influenced by England still. CAMRA looks like the perfect resource - thank you so much for pointing me in the right direction.

                      My. Gimlet, I know Crown and Sceptre but this was before I knew anything about real beer Glad to hear they are noteworthy and I will check them out again after all these years.

                      1. re: PamG

                        Note that camra rates entirely on beer quality - ambience, food, service doesn't get a look in! The 09 guide only came out at the end of December so it should be pretty current. Also keep an eye on the festivals listing on the camra website - a great and inexpensive way to try lots of beers in peak condition